Kelly Girl - Post 1

"Wanna be my girlfriend?" asked Peter.
"Can't," said Kelly. "I'm a boy"

Synopsis: As Kelly is left at his mom's boyfriend's house, all he wants is to make it through the weekend unscathed. But when the man's children mistake him for a girl, Kelly has no clue how to convince them otherwise. It's a case of Miss-taken identity that takes on a hilarious life of its own.

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Chapter 1: Miss Identified

Kelly looked at the house with the circular driveway through the dirty driver's side window of his mother's six-year-old Nissan. "My gosh, it's got two garages." They were parked across the street from the cast iron gates of the entry to the manse in Corona del Mar. A small, slightly built twelve-year-old, Kelly's excitement made him look even younger. His animated blond mop danced forward then back as he tried to see around his mother, "But the house doesn't look that big." He pushed his glasses firmly back on his snub nose.

"Huh, uh," his mother disagreed. She pointed, "Three cars on the north side and two on the south. He's got a Porsche; a big four-wheel drive something, a Mercedes that's practically a limo and his oldest kid has a Mazda or something. The house is huge, it only looks small because of so much garage." Her own pleasure and excitement mirrored his; at twenty-six, tiny Barbie Dolores Drew could pass for sixteen. Either way, she didn't look old enough to have a kid starting junior high in eight more weeks, even if he looked more like fifth grade than seventh.

They shared the same improbably large, blue-green eyes behind wire-rim glasses, with oval faces and snub noses. Most people assumed Kelly to be Barbie's kid brother and the mistake was often let pass. "But that's not all the house, it's three stories tall going down the side of the cliff. You can't see it all from here. You should see, the master bedroom is twice the size of our apartment. The west wall is all windows looking out on the ocean."

"Wow," Kelly sighed. "You spent the night there? I'm impressed. Still," he looked at her reproachfully, "you could have called me to let me know."

"I guess," Barbie hazarded. "But somehow it never happened. Anyway, you knew I was going out, you saw how I was dressed." She tossed her long, platinumed curls, impatient with her son's guilt-tripping her again. Sometimes she wondered which of them was supposed to be the grown-up.

"Yeah," admitted Kelly, "that's why I was worried." His sly look took the sting off what might have been considered a low blow.
Barbie laughed, a giggle that often earned her an extra tip when she worked as a cocktail waitress. She had another laugh for when she danced on tables. Kelly laughed, too. Sometimes he thought his mother a tramp but he loved her and he did worry.

She started the car, "We'd better get out of here before someone calls the Newport cops. Can't have tourists in ratty old cars ogling the real estate." A few quick turns and they were back on Pacific Coast Highway, headed west. "Wanna take the ferry, kid?"
Kelly shrugged. He did not share Barbie's enthusiasm for the tiny Balboa Ferry and while it could save them as much as fifteen minutes getting home to their third floor studio on the Peninsula, they were in no particular hurry. He smiled to show her that it was all right with him to spend the $1.75 for the five-minute boat ride. Barbie took the left turn at Jamboree on yellow and a little too fast. Over the bridge and onto Balboa Island, she exceeded the speed limit all the way to the ferry landing, right through the middle of the tony Balboa Island shopping district. Somehow, Barbie never got tickets but her driving often inspired Kelly to wish for his sixteenth birthday.

On the ferry, they climbed out of the little car to enjoy the breeze off the water. "Hot day," commented Barbie. She tugged at the little yellow jumper she wore to pull the cotton fabric away from her skin. "Sticky." She glanced around to see if any good-looking men were watching but the only other people on the ferry were an older couple who had also gotten out of their Oldsmobile and the man in the little pilothouse who seemed concentrated on the job of steering the boat. She sighed.

"It's August," said Kelly, finishing all discussion of what passed for weather in Southern California. He wore yellow shorts and a white T-shirt and immediately went to the railing to watch the water rush by. They both had on beach thongs and squinted in the mid-afternoon sun, the only people on the Gilded Coast without designer sunglasses.

The old couple nodded at her pleasantly, they seemed to enjoy watching Kelly peering into the blue-and-white bow wash. The old woman spoke to her, "Your sister is a bit of a tomboy, isn't she?"

Good thing Kelly didn't hear that, thought Barbie wryly, no use correcting the old woman. It was better than other comments she'd heard from people who had questioned his gender. She had to get the kid a haircut soon or do it herself, his curly blond hair had begun to spill across his shoulders. Maybe she could get Andie to do it for free.

Walking toward the rail she wished vaguely that they could stop by the Fun Zone for a soft-serve cone but did not suggest it after blowing almost two dollars on her boat ride. Now I have to think about a haircut for the kid. He'd probably been putting it off for the same reason she'd put off her own hair appointment until just yesterday. "I hate being poor," she said out loud and frowned when she realized her son had heard her.

"This isn't going to be about lottery tickets, again is it?" asked Kelly.

"No. It's about men." It occurred to her that it had been lucky to go to Andie's just when she did; right on time to be the customer Andie set up with a date for her rich brother. She motioned Kelly back into the car, the ferry was docking and she suddenly wanted to get home to check the answering machine. She began humming Randy Newman's "Short People."

"Do you have to sing that," Kelly protested. Starting junior high at four-foot-five made short jokes sometimes just too painful.

"It's our anthem," said Barbie, steering off the boat and down the short light to Balboa Avenue. Four-foot nine since before Kelly was born; Barbie took a perverse pride in being short. A half dozen blocks back toward the mainland and they pulled into the alley behind their building both singing, "Short people got no-body to lo-ove."

Up the stairs to the little one-room apartment they shared, they giggled and laughed at the jokes life played on them. Inside, no message light blinked, he probably wouldn't call anyway, thought Barbie. She began to get ready for work, which started at four today waiting tables at Trophys Sports Bar in Fountain Valley. She made more money when she could dance but short, flat-chested dancers were not the rage with club owners.

The room measured sixteen by twenty with one corner partitioned off for the bathroom. Another corner served as kitchen with small refrigerator, stove, microwave and plastic dinette set. A double bed under the window, a faded couch, and a 13-inch TV on a big dresser completed the furnishings. Everything, except the bed, was neat and clean. Kelly took Budget Gourmet Pasta Dinners out of the freezer to put in the microwave and began pulling salad fixings out of the crisper drawer.

Barbie undressed right in the middle of the room, tossing the jumper and panties onto the bed. Modestly built, Barbie usually went braless. Kelly glanced at her, looking for bruises, which she sometimes got from her boyfriends. Barbie would never complain but Kelly had insisted on an end to more than one relationship over unnecessary roughness. Knowing what he was doing, Barbie pointed to one mark on the underside of her left breast, "Hickey's don't count," she said.

"What kind of doctor did you say he was," asked Kelly, "a brain surgeon?"

"No," Barbie headed for the bathroom and the shower. "I didn't say, but he's a plastic surgeon. That's why Andie set me up with him." Andie was Barbie's friend and hairdresser and the sister of the doctor.

"We can't afford a boob job," warned Kelly.

"We can if we can get it free," said Barbie.

"You don't need a boob job," said Kelly.

"But I could dance more often and for more money if I had bigger tits," Barbie went on from behind the partition.

"That's not dancing." Barbie couldn't hear him; she had started the shower.

Minutes later, they sat down to pasta and salad, Barbie still toweling herself dry. Kelly had emptied the microwave dinners onto real china plates and poured drinking water he bought at the machine outside of Ralph's into crystal glasses. The china and crystal had been gifts from a boyfriend now forgotten. "He's nice," said Barbie. "He said I had nice skin."

"Who? The doctor? They're all nice at first and that's what Andie says about your skin because she wants to tattoo your ass." Andie also did tattooing and permanent makeup at her salon.

Barbie giggled. "Don't be vulgar at the dinner table."

"Well she does, she's kinky about your butt. Look who's being vulgar, I'm not the naked one." Kelly grinned. "I can't believe Andie has a rich brother."

"I can't believe we have a friend with a rich brother," said Barbie.

"We live in Newport Beach, why shouldn't we have rich friends?"

"Because we're poor. Poor people don't have rich people for friends. It's a good thing we're short," she finished. It was part of an old auto-benediction with them; it's a good thing we're short because we couldn't afford to feed tall people.

They ate silently for a moment. "Beegee makes good pasta, don't it?" said Barbie.

"Doesn't it," he corrected her, "and yes, for nukable dinners they're the best. These were 89 cents each with a coupon, I got twelve boxes. I had to make three trips through the line 'cause it was four to a customer." Kelly had done most of the shopping for three years now, since Barbie's mother had thrown them out of the trailer in Riverside.

Barbie explained herself, "I meant to say, 'don't they' but you can't say 'Beegee makes' and then say 'don't they,' you're mixing things up. But I over-thought it and screwed it up even worse." She smiled at her son, proud of his good grades and smarts. She always tried to use good grammar in front of him, though she had never graduated high school herself.

"Don't say, 'screwed up,' it makes my back hurt," said Kelly. They giggled together at the remnant of the punchline of another old joke.

"You'd better get dressed," warned Kelly. "It's three-fifteen, you've got to pick up Hoa at her place and don't forget to take your good dress to the dry cleaner." He began cleaning up the table.

Barbie stood, tossing the towel she had kept in her lap at the bed. "When did you become the adult and me the kid? Yes, mommie." She scooted over to the closet and began getting dressed, panties, hose, a Wonder Bra and low-cut blouse for the sake of tips, short black skirt and low-heeled shoes. She tied a ribbon in her hair, grabbed the bag with her good "little black dress" and her purse and kissed Kelly good-bye at the door.

She hadn't been gone three minutes when the phone rang.

Kelly answered. Thinking it might be one of the clubs with an offer of dancing, he pitched his voice, down, to Barbie's range and answered as she would. "Hello," musically, but without too much of a flirt in it.

"Barbie doll," said the voice, big, deep and rich. "It's Harold. I'd like to see you again, tonight."

Kelly blushed. It was the rich boyfriend. "Well, Harold, I'm working tonight. I can't afford to take off on Friday night, the tips are too good."

"Working? Yeah, I had to work this morning, too, a blepharoplasty, then a couple of three boob jobs this afternoon. Look, Doll, when do you get off?"

"Two thirty," said Kelly. "A.M." Twelve thirty actually, Kelly wasn't quite sure why he tacked on the extra two hours.


This is the nice guy she met, thought Kelly. He sounded like any of her other boyfriends who thought she would drop an evening's wages to keep them company. Or, Kelly braced himself for what might be coming. This guy was rich.

"How much you make on a Friday night, Doll? Tips and all."

"Two-fifty, three hundred," Kelly exaggerated wildly. It had happened but it certainly wasn't routine. "Honey, I have to go get ready pretty soon. I have to take my shower still." He lingered on the word shower. Sometimes he enjoyed these phone games but this one might turn very serious quickly

"Damn. Barbie Doll, I made nine thousand today." It didn't sound like a brag, just accounting. "After paying my staff, I get five thousand, more or less. It was a short day. If you can be over here in an hour ready to go to Vegas, you can have it."

The offer fell on Kelly's composure like a piano on a silent movie comedian. He hadn't seen it coming. "Five, thousand," said Kelly.

"And I'll throw in that free boob job you were hinting at. How about it, Doll?"

"I—I," Kelly's mind seemed frozen. He tried to stammer out an excuse. "Harold, I've got a kid. I can't just leave for Vegas in an hour. What about a baby-sitter..."

Bring the little tike over here; Andie's going to be watching my two brats. Kid ain't still in diapers?"

"No. Kelly's older than that." Five. Thousand.

"Good. See you in sixty at the Corona del Mar house. I've got to shower too, got blood on me still, or I'd say come on over and we'll shower together," he laughed.

I haven't agreed to this, thought Kelly, but Harold had hung up.

Hands shaking a little, Kelly dialed the bar. Have I just pimped my mother for five thousand dollars and a boob job he wondered. Barbie wasn't there yet so he left a message for her to call.


"Five thou—" Barbie squeaked when she called back from the bar.

"Sh. Don't tell the whole bar. Do you want to do it?"

"Do I? Are you crazy? Of course, I'll do it!"

Barbie's excitement made Kelly feel bad about the next thing he was going to say. "Barbie, Mom, you know what this is? What he's asking you to do?"

"Sugar, I don't care." Barbie sighed. "I've done it before, you know."

"When we were desperate for money and Mom wouldn't help with the car payment. Yeah, I know. You swore you wouldn't do it again," he pointed out.

"To Momma." Barbie's mother Amanda. "But she didn't believe me, I knew I was lying and so did she. That's why she threw me out."

"Threw us out," said Kelly. Amanda had tried to get child services to take him away from Barbie but nothing happened. Perhaps they were unimpressed with a thirty-seven-year-old alcoholic claiming to be a better mother to a nine-year-old boy than was a twenty-three-year-old sometime nude dancer. But they had moved to Orange County to be away from Riverside County Child Welfare.

"I'd do anything to keep us together, you know. Anything. And five thousand dollars is new clothes, new furniture, money in the bank for emergencies. I'd sleep with Jerry Falwell for that kind of money."

Kelly said nothing.

"It's not like I slept with him last night for free. He bought me dinner and drinks, at the Bay Club, I told you. I even brought home leftovers for you. Sweetie, whoring is just a word." She wouldn't do it if he said don't, they both knew that. It wasn't that she had abdicated her parental authority or accepted his having authority over her. The only thing that mattered between them was the other's happiness and respect. She wouldn't do anything that made him unhappy unnecessarily or caused him to think less of her. And vice versa, he felt the same.

"Mom," he seldom called her Mom. Twice in a few minutes was a lot. "I just don't want you to get hurt." He was the worrier, that's why he kept the checkbook and paid the bills. Not that she couldn't, but he slept better if he did it.

"I won't get hurt."

"Okay, make your excuses, tell them I'm sick or something. I'll find a sub to go in for you so you won't have burned this job when the five thousand runs out. Get your butt back here, I'll have a bag packed for you."

"Oh," she squeaked. "Kelly, you're the best." She hung up.

"No. You are, Mom," he said to the empty line.


An hour later they pulled into the circular driveway in the little green Nissan. Kelly had almost insisted on staying home for the weekend until Barbie had pointed out that leaving him "home alone" was exactly the sort of thing that Mom, Amanda, would use to take him away.

"I'm glad you came so you can enjoy staying in a place like this." Barbie, took the overnight bags out of the trunk just as Dr. Harold Mann came out of the front door.

"Let me get those," he offered. Kelly had expected him to be tall, Andie was five-ten or so, but Dr. Mann seemed enormous. Six foot five or more, perhaps two hundred and forty pounds, thinning black hair, a wide cheerful, tanned face, deep-set blue eyes, it wasn't hard to see why Barbie found it easy to like the man. He wore white tennis shorts revealing tanned, hairy legs bigger around than Kelly's whole body. A white polo shirt and white deck shoes completed what the well-dressed Newport Beach doctor wore to take his mistress to Vegas.

Dr. Mann smiled vaguely at Kelly as he took the bags from Barbie. He seems nice, thought Kelly. The hands taking the bags were long, the fingers nimble, he tucked a bag under an arm and used the freed hand to scoop up Barbie also. "How's my living doll?" he asked.

She squealed, laughing, wriggling up close for a kiss. She wore a green silk jumper with the hose and shoes she had worn to work. A yellow scarf around her platinum hair made her look like the girl who got in trouble thirteen years ago. "This is Kelly," she said by way of introduction.

"Hi, Kelly," said the doctor. "Your sis and I are going to Vegas, that okay with you?"

"Uh, huh," said Kelly. "When will you be back?"

"Late tomorrow night. Real late." He put Barbie down and gave her a squeeze. She should have worn heels, thought Kelly, they're going to arrest him for child molestation, she looks so tiny. "We're going to have to fly, Barbie Doll, if we're going to fly. Southwest leaves for Vegas in less than an hour. Which one of these bags is yours?" They both belonged to Barbie, Kelly had never needed his own overnighter before but he had packed his toothpaste, underwear and a change of clothes into the magenta case.

"The pink one," said Barbie.

"I got an idea," said Harold, looking at the Drew family limo, the green Nissan. "Let's take your car to the airport, save me from getting one of mine out, we'll have them wash it while we're gone, too."

Barbie laughed, "You just don't want my nasty old piece of junk in the same barn with your thoroughbreds. Harry, you're a car snob."

"That's what I like about you, Babs, you know what I really mean when I say something." He laughed easily. Kelly began to like Dr. Mann at that moment, a man who could let his ego be exposed for what it was couldn't be an ogre.

Turning toward the door of the mansion they all saw a young man standing on the steps holding a brown overnighter. The boy looked to be sixteen to eighteen, a red-headed sketch of his father. "Richard," bellowed Harry, "bring me that case. We're going in Barbie's car."

Richard ambled toward them. He wore a tan version of his father's outfit and moved with the mix of grace and awkwardness of a young athlete. He smiled appreciatively at Barbie. "Peter's in the garage, he thought he'd hack you over in the Benz," he said to his father. One of the garage doors rolled up even as he spoke.

"No time, " said Harold. He thrust a case into Richard's hand and seized his own, tossed the two cases he now had into the trunk, pushed Barbie toward the driver's side. "You drive, Doll." She nodded and slipped back behind the wheel.

"We'll give the kids at valet parking a treat," Dr. Mann went on as he circled the car to the right-hand side. "Oh, Richie, this is Kelly, Barbie's niece. She's going to be staying with you till Monday morning, Andie will be over later to look in on her."

Niece? She? Kelly's mouth flew open but Harold closed the door on any correction and the car sped quickly away.

Richard smiled. "Dad's as excited as a kid with a new toy. He really likes your aunt."

"She's not my..." Kelly began.

"Pete!" Richard called as a big Mercedes Benz sedan backed out of the garage. "That's my brother, Pete," he went on. The Big Benz had a cobalt blue finish with a luster deeper than the Baltic. Kelly stared at his reflection as Pete pulled alongside.

"Hey, Pete," Richard leaned into the passenger's side window as it presciently rolled itself down. "They took Barbie Doll's car to the airport. We're on our own except for Skipper here."

"Kelly," said Kelly wondering where the "Skipper" had come from. The confusion seemed to be getting worse.

Pete grinned across the long leather seat at them. Red-haired like his brother, he otherwise looked exactly like a younger version of his Dad, not so much bulky as massive. He sounded like his Dad, too, but without the remnant of whatever accent it was that Harold had. "Hop in, we'll take the chicklet for a spin and grab some dinner."

Richard opened the front door and motioned Kelly inside. Pete whistled as Kelly slid across the seat. "Hey, Skipper, you look just like your aunt. Wanna be my girlfriend?"

Startled at the amount of misinformation embodied in this suggestion, Kelly just stared at him.

"Sit in the middle," Pete ordered, pulling Kelly toward him. "And better buckle up, I'm a dangerous driver." Kelly tried to pull away. "You're shy, aren't you?" noted Pete.

Kelly decided it was safe to nod to that while he fumbled with the belt.

"I like shy girls," Pete went on. "They don't talk too much and they always agree with whatever you say." He looked at Kelly, nodding emphatically until he got a confused nod in return. "So, you didn't answer me earlier. You gonna be my girlfriend?" He nodded encouragingly.

"Can't," said Kelly. "I'm a boy."

Pete roared. He was still laughing when Richard came back from leaving the overnight bag in the house and returning with a smaller canvas tote. Pete explained to his brother, "You know what she said? I asked her if she wanted to be my girlfriend and she said she was a boy!"

How had these two idiots got the idea he was a girl, wondered Kelly; then remembered that Dr. Mann had made the same mistake.

Richard laughed, too. "That's the most original turndown I bet you ever got, Pete." He tossed the tote on the seat beside Kelly.

"But, I am a boy," Kelly tried to explain. "And Barbie's not my aunt, she's my..." Kelly faltered, not sure what Barbie had told them about their relationship, sometimes they did pose as brother and sister if it made things easier with fewer explanations and Dr. Mann had seemed to imply that that had been Barbie's story.

"She's your uncle!" finished Pete. "Barb's your uncle!" appreciating the joke all over again with another roar of hilarity. This time Richard joined the laughter as he slid in beside Kelly.

Suddenly, even before Richard had the door completely closed, the car accelerated. The deep, softly contoured seat cushioned Kelly against the g-force as they sped down the driveway, out of the cul-de-sac and onto the street leading to the highway. Richard's door had swung securely closed and now he struggled with his belt. "Dammit, Pete, don't drive like a maniac! We've got a little girl in the car. She's not going to be impressed, she's going to be terrified."

Except for the genders, he's got that right, thought Kelly.

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Kelly Girl at Amazon US.
Kelly Girl at Amazon UKKelly Girl at Amazon CA.
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