Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Performance, Part 3 (Racquelle and Carrie)

I'm not the only person in my family who once authored a series. My sister wrote some books, too, at the same time that I was writing about Lisa and the Angels. I don't remember if her series had a theme (I think it was just about some random group of girls from L.A.) but I know the stories were classic! Someone fell down a hole in one of them. I remember that.

Anyway, I'm sad to say that NONE of my sister's stories seem to have survived the test of time. However, a few of her characters live on through Lisa and the Angels! That's right; there are at least three books between us that we wrote, which included some "special appearances" from each other's characters.

In The Singers (the long-lost book where Lisa and the Angels first performed in L.A.) they met my sister's characters for the first time. Then, her characters made a reappearance in this story that you're reading right now; PLUS my sister started writing what was more-or-less her own version of The Performance. It had the same "plot", only narrated from her characters' point-of-view.

Sorry, I don't know if any of that made sense! But if you're wondering who all the newbies in these next couple of chapters are, just know they appear courtesy of "mntill."

(Also, I think these two chapters must hold some kind of record for including the most adjectives of the word "said.")

Chapter Three - Racquelle

Lisa says we have to write in her journal. Lisa's not my boss, so I'm only doing it because I think it's a good idea.

Today we finally got to our hotel. I was so glad to get out into the fresh, afternoon California air...

It was five-ten in New York when we stepped out into Anaheim, but only two-ten in California!

We're staying at a place called Stovall's Inn, which is a Best Western. It has lots of great free stuff...

I just love to travel!

(The only annoying thing is this school group that's staying in our motel. They keep shouting and stomping. I wish they would shut up. Maybe I will make them.)

"Attention, please. Our next station stop will be Anaheim. If you plan to detrain in Anaheim, please check the seats around you so you don't leave any personal belongings behind. Thank you for traveling on the Amtrak San Diegan."

Everybody in our group began to screech. We were on the seventh and final train, almost in ... Anaheim!

Quickly, I pulled out my little red pocket mirror and checked my appearance. My skin needed a tan like a man in the desert needs water, but the rest of my outer self looked pretty good for California. My short hair was smooth, straight, and -- lucky for me -- pale blonde. (As we all know, blonde hair is Prerequisite #1 for being a real California Girl...good thing Racquelle was based on a Barbie doll.) My blue eyes were twinkling, and my makeup was applied perfectly. I winked at my reflection.

"Put that mirror away, Racquelle," scolded Jennifer. "We've gotta gather up our luggage!"

"I'm so excited!" squealed Kathy, who was sitting beside me.

"Yes, me, too," I answered coolly. I folded my mirror and placed it back in my pocket.

Ten minutes later, we were stepping out into the hot, California sun. "Aahh," breathed Kathy. "The moment I've been waiting for."

I had to agree.

The train station wasn't nearly as crowded as the one we left behind in Albany. Across the street, some supposedly famous baseball stadium stood tall. My friends tried to persuade me to run to the window and admire it with them, but I declined. California girls didn't care about sports, at least not the kind of California girl I hoped to become.

Miss Jewell had to call five taxis to take us all to Stovall's Inn. I ended up in a taxi with Leonard Hope (our guitar player), Stacie, and June. (I wish we could have rented a limousine, since we're celebrities and all.)

"It's lovely out here," I said to the cab driver as we cruised along. It really was. There were more hotels and restaurants than I'd anticipated, but the weather was warm, the palm trees were swaying, and the people all looked happy.

(Do palm trees really "sway" in Anaheim?)

"Have you lived here a long time?" Leonard asked.

"Leonard Hope, you know very well that I live in New York..." I began.

"Not you, Racquelle," June hissed.

"Oh," I muttered.

The taxi driver answered Leonard's question as he pulled into the parking lot of Stovall's Inn. He stopped, and I stepped out of the cab. The taxi driver handed me my bags.

"Thank you," I told him warmly.

The rest of the taxis drove up, and everybody gathered their luggage. Then we crowded into the lobby while Miss Jewell registered us.

I discovered that I had been assigned to Room 303, with Cyndi, Christie, and Miss Jewell herself. The room was one half of a suite. (The other half held Carrie, Lisa, George Howard the drummist, and Bobby Lawrence the keyboardist.)

(Okay, WHAT? Did I just write that two grown men were sharing a room with two 14-year-old girls?!?! How utterly wrong can you get?! I was a little ... er, sheltered at 14.)

"Look at this room," I commented when we entered it. "It's nice!" The room was decorated mainly in pink and gray. It held a table, three chairs, a desk, a dresser, two huge beds, a night table, and a big sink. On top of the sink sat a small freezer. On top of the dresser sat a television set, and on top of the table perched a phone. Off to the side was a bathroom with a shower.

"Homey," I said aloud. "And comfort-"

"Look!" cried Christie, interrupting me. "Free stuff!"

(Like five-year-old Christie would know or care if something was free.)

I gasped. Even though I come from a wealthy family, I just adore anything free. And sure enough, next to the sink was a little basket full of soap, cups, two plastic coffee mugs, some shower caps, shampoo, some plastic bags, and some sugar, cream, and coffee beans. All complimentary! Next to the basket, there was even a small coffee machine.

"I call the coffee machine!" I cried.

"Uh ... I'm sorry to disappoint you, Racquelle, but I don't believe it is free," Miss Jewell said gently.

"What?" I gasped.

"Why don't you check the drawers for more free things?" she suggested hurriedly.

"Good idea!" I exclaimed.

I opened the night table drawer, and found a Bible that was not free. But in the desk drawer, there was a free bag full of free hotel stationery, two postcards, and two envelopes. And on the table I found a free TV guide, some coupons, and a guest directory. I even found a coupon for Venice Pizza on the floor.

The only other items I found that weren't free besides the Bible and coffee machine (and the furniture, of course) were three local phone books in the top dresser drawer. But that was okay. My roommates let me have two bars of soap, a shower cap, a bottle of shampoo, all the plastic bags (ooh, score, Racquelle!), two pieces of stationery, one of the postcards, one of the envelopes, and the guest directory!

I had not taken a shower since we left Albany (ew!), and I felt disgustingly grimy. But Cyndi hogged the shower first!

That made me mad. I decided not to fight, though. At least not until I had to.

I finally made it to the shower, and washed and washed. Afterwards, I realized I was exhausted. My poor, confused body had experienced all of the time zones in the continental states in just three days, and we kept on changing trains during sleeping hours. I put on one of my bright L.A.-type outfits and flopped onto the soft, comfortable bed I shared with Cyndi, where I immediately fell asleep.


I woke up to the sound of loud stomping above me. At first I thought it was my youngest (adopted!) siblings, Hobart and Lin. Then I remembered I was in California!

"What's going on?" I murmured.

"There's a school group here at the motel," Cyndi's voice answered. "They've been making noise all afternoon."

I sat up. "That's crazy! A school group? It's summertime!"

Cyndi, who was watching a movie on HBO, shrugged. "It's a school group. The desk manager told Miss Jewell."

Well, this did not make me very happy at all. I tried to ignore the constant stomping and shouting above me as I ate the delicious pizza Miss Jewell ordered from Venice Pizza with our coupon, and as we talked about our plans for the next day, and as we watched a movie, and even as I fell asleep. But it was nearly impossible.

The next morning, the noise had actually stopped. My friends, Miss Jewell, Christie, and I ate a quick breakfast at the nearby International House of Pancakes. (The band members and dancers were free to eat where and when they pleased.)

(Isn't that nice of Miss Jewell to let them.)

When we returned to the motel, the noise had started up again. I was really losing my temper.

And before I knew it, I instinctively dashed outside and up the flight of stairs that led to the room above ours. I turned the knob of the door. It opened!

I had already gone this far, so I stuck my head in the doorway and yelled, "Stop making noise!"

A familiar voice answered, "Leave us alone, Racquelle ... wait a minute." I couldn't believe my eyes when a puzzled-looking ... Erin Heart appeared. "Racquelle!" she cried. "It is you! What are you doing here?"

Erin Heart is one of the good friends we made in L.A. last summer. (Here come my sister's characters!) Her friend Amy Asberg won a radio contest to meet us, and we met Erin and ten other girls through Amy. Just like Amy became my best California friend, Erin became Carrie's. They have a lot in common.

I tossed my hair over my shoulder and answered Erin. "I'm staying here in California for two weeks. With the group. We're performing at Disneyland."

"Wow!" she cried. "This is unbelievable! I'm staying in this motel for two weeks, too."

(What a contrivance coincidence!)

"Well ... well, great!" I exclaimed. This was pretty exciting news. "Want to see Carrie and everyone else?" I asked.

"Of course!" Erin cried. She got permission from her mother to come to our rooms. As we headed down there, I explained more about Lisa and the Angels' plans, and she told me about the trip that a small group at her school had earned for writing prize-winning essays or something. The school group was only staying for a week officially, but Erin, her mother and sisters, six of the friends we had made last summer, and three other girls would continue to stay in the motel to see other California attractions ... just like us!

I knocked regally on our door. Miss Jewell answered, a panicked expression on our face. "Racquelle," she scolded. "Don't you ever run off like th... oh, my! Erin Heart!"

"Miss Jewell," Erin replied, grinning.

"Come in, come in." Miss Jewell ushered us inside.

"Erin!" Cyndi cried from the bed. "What are you doing here?"

Erin explained about the school group. "Wow!" Cyndi exclaimed. "That's amazing! Lynn wrote and said a group from her school was going on a trip, but I never thought it would be to Disneyland ... much less, to our own motel!"

"Yeah, it's pretty cool," Erin agreed. "We couldn't afford to go to another state, or even to the Disneyland Hotel. But next week, Mom says we're gonna experience California from the eyes of a tourist. We're not even going home to see the other sights. It sounds really fun, all of the trip."

(Whatever, Erin. Mntill and I needed to think of a better way to incorporate her characters. This is so contrived it hurts.)

What was more exciting, we discovered, was that Erin's five-year-old sister Kristine was with her. Kristine had exchanged a few "letters" with Christie Wellman, and now they could meet!

(Oh, goody, another brat.)

"Do you want me to go get her, Amy, and the rest of them?" Erin asked.

"Yes!" Cyndi and I agreed enthusiastically.

"But, Erin," I added.

"Yeah?" she asked.

"One more thing. Can you tell your school group to keep it down just a little?"


(There's Racquelle's chapter. It's late and I'm still wide awake, so I might as well post the next one, too.)

Chapter Four - Carrie

Hi, Lisa!

I can't believe it, not only Erin is here, but Amy, Debbie, Jennifer, Kristy, Liza, and Shari, too! It's too bad Katy, Lynn, Tara, Cheryl, and Marie couldn't come. Then it would have been just like last summer!

Still, there's some great other people, including Shari's sister Michelle. She's terrific! I'm just surprised any of them are here!

Meeting up with our old friends delayed us a little, what with Racquelle, Kathy, Lisa, Jennifer, and I joining our best friends from last summer, and Cyndi meeting Michelle. Becca even reunited with Jennifer Worness, who was actually her childhood best friend!

But soon we were off to...

The greatest amusement park ever ...

The happiest place on earth ...


When Cyndi told me about all our old friends, I was just shocked. But I recovered quickly.

With the exception of June and Stacie, the members of Lisa and the Angels raced upstairs for some reunions. (June hadn't even known us last summer, and Stacie's best L.A. friend, Marie Yamstazankie, wasn't with the school group.)

Racquelle met up with Amy Asberg. Kathy and Lisa found their friends, Kristy O'Hara and Liza Martineez, in a room together. Christine decided to visit Debbie Rogers. (Christine's friend Katy Olsen wasn't with the school group, either, but Christine and Debbie had met in L.A. and liked each other.) Cyndi's friend Lynn Garcia was also missing from the group, but Cyndi decided to meet Shari Ashley's sister Michelle, who we hadn't met last year. (So she just bursts in Michelle's room all, "Hi, I'm Cyndi, let's hang out!"?) Jennifer found Shari, who had been her good friend. And Becca happily discovered her very old friend, Jennifer Worness. Even Christie met up with Erin's sister Kristine!

(Wow, a Christine Hart and a Kristine Heart, plus a Kristy and another Jennifer. Mntill and I weren't the most original when it came to names. Why do these girls only have one friend each?)

Erin, Christie, Kristine, and I crowded into the hotel room that Erin and Kristine shared with their mom and their three-year-old sister, Emily. We started a wonderful conversation about Disneyland.

"Are you gonna go on Space Mountain?" Erin asked me.

I nodded emphatically, being Lisa and the Angels' resident roller-coaster freak. Erin grinned. "Me, too!"

"But that's not the best part," I said slyly. Erin's grin widened. She knew what I was thinking.

"Disneyland probably holds thousands of boys," she began.

"Girls!" Mrs. Heart called from the adjoining bathroom.

"What, Mommy?" asked Kristine.

"We're leaving now. Would you like Carrie and Christie to walk around with us?"

"Yeah!" Erin cried. She looked at me. "I mean, if that's okay..."

"I'd love it," I replied. (At least for today, I thought. I didn't really want to spend all my trip with three little kids.)

Mrs. Heart smiled warmly. "I'll go ask Marianne Jewell if you two can come with us."

About five minutes later, she returned. "I hope you have your foot spray on, girls, and walking shoes," she announced. "We're taking off."

The five of us cheered, quickly sprayed on some foot spray, and let the younger girls use the bathroom. Fifteen minutes later, we were staring into the gates of Disneyland!


"Look! It's Mickey Mouse!"

"A movie 'feater!"

"Donald Duck, Mommy, Donald Duck!"

We were strolling down Main Street, the first area of Disneyland. The little kids were going crazy, and I couldn't blame them. It was truly an enchanting place!

"Can we buy a magic trick, Mommy?" Kristine asked.

"We want to go on Space Mountain!" Erin whined.

"Okay," said Mrs. Heart. "Space Mountain it is! We'll go shopping later, Kris."

I looked down at our map. "Space Mountain is in .. Tomorrowland!" I announced.

Tomorrowland was nearby, and easy to find. Space Mountain was located right next to Star Tours. Since it was still fairly early, the line wasn't too long. We rode up an escalator-like thing to the top of the "mountain", which was really a little building. Then we entered the building, and walked down a ramp. It took about twenty more minutes, but finally we were boarding our cars.

"Aughh!" Emily suddenly screamed. "No ride, Mommy! No ride!"

"Oh, dear." Mrs. Heart looked embarrassed. "Well, I don't think Emily fits the height requirement, anyway. I'd better take Christie and Kristine, too."

(Like they would have let them on in the first place. By the way, I'm sure Mrs. Wellman would just love to know that Christie is walking around Disneyland with some strange woman... unless Carrie counts as her "sitter.")

She and the little kids left just in the nick of time. The ride began the second they disappeared! It was, surprisingly, pretty slow at first.

"Whoa," I said to Erin. "This isn't like I thought it would be! It ..."

All of a sudden, we sped up to lightning pace! It was so cool ... it really felt like we were zooming through outer space.

Erin's mom and the girls were waiting outside the building. "Like it?" Mrs. Heart asked.

We answered with enthusiastic reviews. She smiled. "Good. Well, it's already time for lunch. Where do you want to go?"

We ended up getting sandwiches at a place called The Carnation Ice Cream Shop. They were delicious!

I was walking along, thinking about how pleasant this trip was, when I noticed something that made my heart flutter. "Look, Erin!" I hissed, pointing to the Star Tours line.

She stared, open-mouthed. "Whoa, baby!" she finally managed.

(Gag. Is she Kimmy Gibler?)

"Babe" was a good word to describe both of the ... identical twin boys we were gawking at. Blonde, with piercing green eyes, they looked about my age, and just a little older than Erin!

Erin turned to her mother. "Uh ... Mom? Would you mind if we went off on our own for awhile?"

Mrs. Heart smiled knowingly. "Tired of the kids, huh? That's fine, girls. Just meet me back in one hour, at Sleeping Beauty Castle."

"Ok!" we agreed. We hurried to the end of the Star Tours line, before anyone could block us from the babes.

"Oh, Carrie!" Erin squealed. "I just love this ride! Don't you?"

I gave her a strange look. "I've never even been on ..." She nudged me. I got the point. "Oh, yes. This is my very favorite!"

"Just think," said Erin. "If Lisa and the Angels hadn't planned their trip at the same time as Lawson School's, then I never would've met up with you, Carrie Packer, again!" (Spare me...)

I knew Erin was using my fame, but in this case, I didn't mind. Anyway, it worked! The boys turned around.

"Hi," one of them said. "I'm Bruce Reese. This is my brother, Brian." Brian grinned. Bruce continued. "Are you, by any chance, Carrie of Lisa and the Angels?"

"Sure am," I replied. "This is my friend, Erin Heart."

Bruce smiled at Erin. Brian smiled at me. I smiled back. I was melting.

"Wanna go on Star Tours with us?" Brian asked.

"You'll let us?" Erin teased.

"Of course!"

Suddenly, a snotty voice said, "Move forward, you boy-crazy girls and girl-crazy boys!"

I turned, and was surprised to see that it was Racquelle. She was standing with Amy Asberg, two other girls, two boys, and a woman -- the members of the school group Amy had been assigned to walk around with.

"MOVE!" Racquelle screeched.

I rolled my eyes, and obeyed. "Is that Racquelle?" Brian whispered in my ear.

I grinned, and whispered back, "How did you know?"


Star Tours was a pretty cool ride. Afterwards, the four of us exited the building, talking and laughing.

Brian and Bruce asked if they could treat us to a snack. We had just eaten, but we agreed, anyway.

As I sat across the table, gazing into Brian's eyes, I felt something happening inside me. (We don't want to know, Carrie.) He was a little quiet, but he was the nicest guy I had met in ages.

When we finished the food, Bruce said, "Carrie and Brian, do you mind if Erin and I go off on our own?"

"We have to meet my mom in ten minutes," Erin added. "But I know she won't care."

Brian looked at me. "I certainly don't mind, Carrie. Do you?"

That was a silly question. Of course I didn't mind! I was in love again!
(I'm surprised I didn't spell it "l-u-v.")


Only a few chapters left of this one before it comes to an abrupt end. Up next -- Miss Jewell gets all dictatorish, and Lisa and the Angels perform!


Sada said...

LOVE the foot spray.

Are you sure Racquelle is based on a Barbie doll? Because she sounds more like a 70-year-old woman. Hoarding free goods? Getting unnecessarily crotchety in line? Uh-HUH.

Also, for a "wealthy" person, she seems bizarrely unfamiliar with hotels.

tctill said...

Sada, she's a 70-year-old trapped in a Barbie doll's body.:-)

Anonymous said...

very classic. i felt oh-so-cool and immortalized to have my wonderful, realistic, depth-filled characters on it. i remember being the first to write such masterful prose as Raquelle tossing her head and that bizarre line about foot spray (because I know we used it on our first trip to Disneyland). I remember those being made up because I think at least I (and possibly babyishly you) CRIED when we were leaving Disneyland the first time and dad suggested writing a story about it as a distraction... I mean memory...

I do not remember that series having any sort of name or rhyme or reason. sadly it beyond was more developed as a bunch on dolls than on paper. i remember shari ashley had a book that was only about 20 pages called "Coming to America" (because she moved from Australia because I loved Rick Astley but thought his last name was Ashley at the time), and Debbie Rogers lived with just a dad and even thought I for some reason remember imagining her with a brown curly perm she was supposed to be like Mary from the Parent Trap 2, and I THINK Michelle Ashley was some "Albert Ingalls" that did NOT come from Australia, but somehow oh-so-realistically ended up living with the Ashleys (this heart-tugging backstory beyond only happened while playing dolls,although she had some about 8-page story where she went to camp; a faux Anne Wellman younger sister named Carolyn for some reason had a started story called Carolyn's Class Court, where she would have played a judge); Amy Asberg was that same Barbie Doll as Jennifer Owens and was oh-so-originally a rich, reformed snob (that's why she liked Racquelle), Kristy was needlessly a year older than people like Shari and was supposed to be all comedic, Jennifer Wornes was "cool" (but starved, and also needlessly a year older), Marie Yamstizankee was part of a dance duo called It Takes Two and they competed on Star Search (and you had some long, LONG lost story about a dance team called Kevin and Lisa who met them); Erin Heart was a child actress (and if it had been a series, I believe she would have first appeared in a book 3 or something). Her sisters Kristine and Emily MiGhT have been adopted and I think they were the ones to fall in a hole (this being in addition to the characters in my diary falling in a hole). Even I thought characters like Lynn Garcia and Katy Olsen were all boring..

How nostalgic your blog made me feel... I BEYOND wish I still had those stories. Keep yours up. :) :) :)