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Tom Snyder - an upROARious dedication

Tom Snyder - an upROARious dedication

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Published by Viqi French
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Viqi French
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Published by: Viqi French on Aug 08, 2007
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Daddy’s Gonna Buy That Baby A Jaguar

DADDY’S GONNA BUY THAT BABY A JAGUAR: A SUSPENSEFUL LIFE WITH AN UPROARIOUS BITE. Copyright © 2007 by Pet Leopard Communications, Ltd. All right reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in an article or review. For information, contact http://ViqiFrench.com. http://www.editred.com/viqifrench Cover Design by Derek Weglarz First Edition: August 2007

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Daddy’s Gonna Buy That Baby A Jaguar

Tom Snyder and The Late-Night Phat Cat

It’s the most peculiar thing, but my family possesses only three photographs of my handsome father, who passed away when I was four. Either mom and the old relatives

couldn’t stop playing Bid Whist long enough to develop a few Polaroids, or Daddy was more elusive than Michael Jackson, hiding behind those bandit scarves with his hand blocking the camera shot.

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Daddy’s Gonna Buy That Baby A Jaguar

But what my mother and aunts and uncles lacked in picture-taking interest, they lovingly compensated for by telling me, over and over, a handful of colorful stories about Daddy. And for me, chief among the anecdotes was the one about how he delighted in knee-bouncing me with this provocative mantra: “DADDY’S GONNA BUY THAT BABY A JAGUAR!” Unfortunately, as I approached my teens and pressed for details regarding this curious line, no one was actually clear about whether my father had planned to buy his diaper-clad beauty a ferocious animal or an expensive foreign car. Neither of which I could see keeping in that musty dollhouse out back we called a garage. Whenever this fine J/jaguar story was told to me, most frequently by my unassuming Aunt Martha – who was clearly taken, too, by my father’s rich imagination – I would ask for clarification. Her eyes would cloud over with confusion. I couldn’t tell if her squinting showed signs that she was racking her brain to recall, or annoyance because I’d found the precious information she’d just imparted insufficient. I didn’t, after all, want anyone to slip up and surprise me with a kitten or a Cadillac, thinking they’d come close enough. So

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whether he meant the racy car or the big cat was crucial. But I would never know, really. Now you may think, “Well, this is ridiculous. It’s obvious which JAGUAR he meant!” And I would say, you didn’t have a clue, either. Because one of them, he didn’t seem to have the money to purchase. The other, he really might have had access to. You see, Daddy worked at Ralston Purina in St. Louis, in the research lab. So he was always bringing me home strange pets. Like that cute duck whose ever-running, green bowels he expected 'me' to clean up after. When I wouldn’t, he threatened to give it away to my cousin Rose. Or have Mama cook it. (I refused to any eat meat that showed up on my plate once the duck finally disappeared.) I was only three or four; I basically still needed someone to clean up after my bowels! The point is, Daddy had access to somewhat unconventional animals. So I couldn’t assume he meant the car. To be on the safe side and fulfill my dad-ordained birthright, I had in mind that I should simply acquire them both someday. Like Mama, the non-cursing teacher and Christian, I had an image and legacy to

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uphold. But totally unlike my mother, my budding persona would be free-spirited, curious, inventive, and a bit avant-garde. I suppose, because I just didn’t see many Jaguars in our modest neighborhood, I made a slight adjustment to Daddy’s vision. When I hit, say eighteen, I would be the idolized owner of a purple, metallic Corvette Stingray. And I wanted wicked purple, metallic hair to match. The hair: A short, mushroom-shaped ‘do. In other words, a shimmering, blue-violet redux of Moe’s mop from the Three Stooges. The car: A real show-stopper – particularly with my new pet, Killer, panting in the passenger seat. Frightening all the bad people and children when I drove ‘round and ‘round the block, showing off. I wasn’t sure how I'd acquire Killer, but I would. I'd start the hunt at the St. Louis Zoo. The people there were always so pleasant, I was certain they’d be happy to accommodate my request... “Hi. I’ll take a Pepsi, a chunky souvenir pencil, and a snarling, sixfoot jaguar, please,” I’d tell the young blond in the cheesy uniform at the food stand. I’d specify that my jaguar should be plenty shiny with really large rosettes tattooed all over its coat, too. “And with long toe nails, please,” I would add. I’d have to paint the nails with
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garish purple polish, to sync-up with the Stingray and my peopleeating hair. “Sure thing!” the zoo employee would chirp, and dash across the grounds to the cavern they called the Cat House. When she returned, there’d be my glassy-eyed Killer with long, menacing fangs, attached to a wide, bejeweled leash. Proud to have served another customer, the zoo employee would transfer the fat cat over to me along with whatever care instructions I would need. In parting, the chipper worker might slip me a juicy hot dog – without the tangy condiments, of course – to feed my new pet. The hot dog, I thought, would tide Killer over until we got home. Once there, if he’d eaten it all without hesitation, he could have more, the way Mama always cooked them – sliced thin and stirred up in hot, bubbly Pork ‘n Beans! Having Killer around might even land me on television. On “Tomorrow,” to be precise. When I was in the eighth grade, this fantastically urbane, late-late night talk show was my absolute favorite. I’d sneak and watch it – keeping the volume so low I could barely hear it. But there was no missing the bottom line: there was

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an intriguing world out there just waiting for me to grow up and play around in. Audrey Coleman, my matronly brainiac classmate who lived in the big house on the corner, introduced me to “Tomorrow.” The show was hosted by Tom Snyder, an erudite fellow with an affable voice. Tom didn’t seem the type to personally tool around with such fringe characters – the schizophrenics, swingers, witches, and psychics of the world – but he sure did book them. On a slow night, he'd settle for a guest who was a conspiracy theorist, a commie, or someone who knew a little too much about serial killers. I thought Audrey could make it on “Tomorrow,” too. On one of the slow nights. Her special talent was reciting the names of all the books in the Old and New Testaments in what I called “Bible-betical” order. Audrey, whose frumpy ensembles looked like her hilarious, old Granny had chosen them, was fascinated by – and zealously empathized with – the gaudy Las Vegas prostitutes she’d seen Tom Snyder interview. These high-heeled sluts in mini skirts had come on to plead their case for wanting to organize an important new union. They called their group COYOTE (Cast Off Your Old Tired Ethics).
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A real intellectual who, unlike me, had actually been 'accepted' into the gifted school when our teacher picked us to test, Audrey Coleman bought COYOTE’s propaganda – hook, line and sinker. Now, I could agree with COYOTE advocating that its promiscuous members be regularly tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Hoes have an image to uphold, too. Plus, we needed a deterrent to the worrisome health problems they were promulgating. I could also see how legalized pussy could curb the scourge of rape. If a guy could just go buy himself “some” – without hassle, the way you buy grapes – then he wouldn’t have to clunk anybody on the head and steal it. However, I drew the line on COYOTE’s final point. “But Nevada could probably really use the tax money,” Audrey would argue, looking up from a volume of her sticky-paged World Book encyclopedias. “Why shouldn’t poon-tang be taxed, too? Think of the benefits to the education system. Or the highway improvements that could be made. This COYOTE movement should go national!” I would look at her askance, wondering if she was secretly considering this line of work. Which would explain why she, like a young suffragette, seemed prepared to fight hard for hookers’ rights.
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Up until then I thought Audrey planned to be a doctor and cure cancer. I, on the other hand, was much more fascinated with some of Tom’s other guests – all of whom he took quite seriously. One night he’d interview a transvestite in a mannequin-stiff wig; a few shows later, a transsexual who loved lesbians. Perhaps he’d book Killer and me somewhere between the two… “Welcome to the program, Miss French,” would say Tom Snyder in that famous, thunderous voice. “And thank you, I think, for (Tom has, of course, been

bringing… um… your unusual pet.”

coached not to say Killer’s name, because he responds quite dangerously upon hearing it.) “Thanks, Tom. Great to be here,” I’d respond, petting the head of my treacherous companion, who’s sprawled out on the stage, lapping at my vintage go-go boots. Ever intense, my favorite talk show host would give me the once over. I’d be wearing a slinky psychedelic halter-top, billowy bellbottoms, and big, round mirrored shades. Snyder would ignore my hot London Look and go right for the jugular.

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“That’s one outrageous hair-do you have,” Tom would say, chuckling to the point of coughing phlegm. Tom Snyder smoked

more cigarettes on-camera than even Johnny Carson. “Purple with silver flecks, is it?” he’d ask, his wild eyebrows twitching. “Yes,” I’d say, tossing my head so my bangs gapped sexily, revealing more of my pecan-brown face. “It’s actually blue-violet, Tom. There are several beauticians in my family and one of them concocted the color. Just for me.” “I see… This ‘manimal’ you’re known for walking the streets of St. Louis with has garnered you tremendous accolades for bravery and media attention, which you must use responsibly. Now, I want you to look right into camera two and tell the people why you’re here tonight.” On cue, I’d turn my head and gaze into the lens. “I’m here

because I’d like to see parents do a better job of documenting their family history. It’s just not fair to the children, to risk having them grow up without the benefit of photo albums to refer to and enjoy.” “Is this what happened to you? Is that why you feel so strongly about it?”

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“Yes, Tom. I just can’t remember the important details of my childhood, and having lots of photos sure would help.” He’d drag his cigarette till his cheeks collapsed and eyes popped. But it would all shrink back to normal when he said, “Well, you’re not that old yet. I just don’t get it. What’s the big deal?” “Well, I was introduced to pot last year, in the seventh grade. And I’m fully expecting that by the time I’m thirty, half my brain cells will have burned out. And certain things about my past will simply be beyond my grasp.” At this point Killer would keel over on his muscular side, as if he’s heard this story a million times. I’d lean over and run my hand down his magnificent, spotted coat. He’d chuff, loud and wet, because he loves me, too. Stubbing out the cigarette amidst a cloud of smoke, Tom would say, “So you don’t intend to quit the marijuana? You’ll just stay in a fog for as long as you can, huh?” “Pretty much,” I’d say, laughing heartily. “I didn’t make it to Woodstock in sixty-nine, and I will never get over it. I was born to be there. My cousin Sylvia went. Love her dearly, but the witch

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didn’t even tell me about it until after she came home, still stoned. So I’m thinking I need to make up for lost time.” “Woodstock,” Tom declares, with a jerk of his head. “I’ve had a few guests here on ‘Tomorrow’ who’ve talked about that concert. Not sure that was a good place for a, what, nine- or ten-year-old.” Then, he’d lean in for intimacy and chuckle the truth, with surplus smoke squirting from between his buttery teeth. “You know my secret, don’t you? Clearly, I would have gone to Woodstock, too, had I been able to get off this mother-loving set a moment. But you? You were a little young then, don’t you think?” “Not at all, Tom. Look at me.” I’d shrug my sexy, brown

shoulders, sending shock waves through my bouncy, amethyst coif. “Spiritually, I’m already grown. Age is nothing but a number.” I’d glance at the pack of cigarettes on the Parsons table between us, not understanding why he hasn’t offered me a smoke. I’d thought we were friends. “So how does all this relate to your true premise, Miss French? Take me back to this thing about the photo albums, will ya’?” I’d think a moment before responding. “My point, Tom, is this: The only reason I purchased Killer was, I just wasn’t sure whether my
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late father intended me to have a Jaguar, the car, or a jaguar, as in Killer here. It’s a big controversy in my family, what he meant by DADDY’S GONNA BUY THAT BABY A JAGUAR! And it’s costing me a fortune.” Tom Snyder would shake his head and say, “I’m sorry, but I don’t follow…” “And neither did my family!” I’d cry. “People just let Daddy get away with this grandiose statement about getting me a J/jaguar, and didn’t ‘follow-up’ for details. It’s very disappointing; no one knows what he meant. And I guess, if somebody had been a more

committed photo-taker, the pictures would jog her educated memory a little better. And I might not have this big-ass cat here, eating me out of a house and home.” Killer would lift his head and threateningly stare at me. “But I love him to death!” I’d add. He’d relax, again disinterested. The gems adorning his fancy collar would sparkle under the stage lights when he exhales. “Well, I’ll bet that, now that you’re being filmed on ‘Tomorrow,’ if you wind up married with children, they’ll all know exactly where

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you stand on the issue. right?”

And you’ll all be fabulous shutterbugs,

“Voila,” I’d reply, pouting my ruby-red lips and tossing my hair ala Tina Turner, that other famous St. Louisan. Responding in French held special meaning, too. I’d had a Josephine Baker moment, been zapped by the spirit of that celebrated lady from “The Lou” who’d become the toast of Paris. Why the theatrics? Because I knew that my fifteen-minutes was coming to a close; I’d noticed the floor manager over in the dark, signaling Tom to wrap it up. channeled my two hometown heroes and hammed! “It’s been lovely having you, little Miss French. And I sincerely wish you the best. But I challenge you to jog your own memory So I’d

about your childhood. Think of how you got to this curious point, this penchant for experimentation and loving life on the edge. And think about the dangerous places this can land you in the future. In fact, will you just stop this minute with the pot, for chrissakes?” I’d smile, cock my head and politely say, “I doubt it. I’m on my way to high school, you know.” To continue my point, I’d let the leash fall to my side in the swivel chair and begin talking with my hands, too. “Tom, I’m afraid
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there’s just too much fun stuff pulling me into the abyss of decadence. Songs like Psychedelic Shack. Purple Haze. Go Ask

Alice. It’s Your Thing by the Isley Brothers – which my mother has forbidden me to sing. It’s the music; it’s turning everybody out like a two-dollar whore. I’m the product of a carefree, experimental

generation. And now that I’m hip to your edgy show, it’s really all down-hill from here.” As suspected, the cameraman would swing round and take a tight shot of Snyder, who’d snap his head to it and close with, “And that’s the way it is, folks. By the way, that catchy tune about ‘Alice’ is actually titled, White Rabbit.” Killer’s hypnotic, amber eyes slyly fix on Tom. Since he’d just mentioned food. “Join us here tomorrow night, when my guests are aspiring doctor Audrey Coleman, a hooker-in-drag who’s apparently on the verge of creating a controversial cure for cancer. And a member of the

notorious Manson Family: Squeaky Fromme – a real, live killer!” Suddenly, my lazy pet would leap up and pounce on the best damned talk show host in the world, who had most unfortunately – and completely unwittingly – just called his name.
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“Cut!” the director would shout from some dark corner offcamera, as all hell has broken out on the set. I’d just sit there a moment longer, reflecting, as Tom Snyder had suggested, on how I’d become such a young thrill-seeker. I really didn’t know how I’d formed this intense attraction to adventure and suspense, but it sure sounded like I was stuck with it for life. But before starting my journey back in time, I’d reach over and grab Tom’s Marlboros and mutter, “Guess you won’t be needing these now, will you?”

If you enjoyed this excerpt from “Daddy’s Gonna Buy That Baby A Jaguar,” the entire ebook is available at: http://www.editred.com/viqifrench

THANK YOU!
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Daddy’s Gonna Buy That Baby A Jaguar

Contents
One
Tom Snyder and My Late-Night Phat Cat So Long, Seal-skin Kid Haints-R-Us Leave It to Leonard Mississippi Backward Poupee Galore Narrow Passages Boxing In the Garden Blue78 Les Demoiselles d’Anderson Chronic Card Disorder The King of Hearts Blah

Two
Hunka-Chunk Churning Love Warp Speed Petals in the Wind Mardi Gras Faux Pas Eighteen-inch Sway MOVE to T.S.O.P. Midnight Snack Babushka Lay It Out in Lavender

Bonus:

Chapter 1 – Fired Up, A Suspense Novel

http://www.editred.com/viqifrench
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