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Chapter 1

     The Story The Authors much for that evening's episode of If You Really Loved Me You'd Submit Gratefully... Crunching over the brittle leaves of the benighted forest, Geraldine heaved a sigh. Why did television always have to be the same, the same faces, the same stale jokes and nowhere plots, the same ethical reticence replacing truth with candyfloss, no matter the cost? Beyond all that high-falutin' critique, though, it was like an inbred child, an incurable bed-wetter, a crude and pathologically immature cousin, the one the Muses kept in the little room beneath the stairs so no one else would have to know. Crunch went the leaves beneath her feet. "I am Ger-al-dine," she whispered, sucking cold air in through her teeth; "And that's my name so don't call me coo-coo for cocoa-puffs..."
It was not a far walk to the cemetary from Geraldine's home and before long she was approaching the large iron gates that guarded the graveyard. She walked past the gates, humming to herself, turned the corner and followed the iron spiked fence to a spot where a rod had been broken, making a gap in the fence just large enough for a slim fearless teenager like herself to squeeze through. The night was moon bright and Geraldine (don't call me stupid) could easily make out the names on the grave stones. There was Harold March's grave. 1897. She past his headstone made her way up a gentle hill beyond it. At the top of the hill was the headstone for Axelianne Bennett. 1888. She had always loved that name. She turned left at Axelianne and down the knoll to large statue commemorating the Watson family where her friends were already waiting for her. cuddles
"You're late," said Geraldine's friend Sarra. "We don't tolerate lateness." Geraldine looked around at all her friends holding guns and wished they had not joined a gang. But instead of shooting her, two of the strongest teenagers held Geraldine down. The rest of the gang members gathered around the biggest gravestone and started to chant something. Geraldine knew instinctively that something awful was about to happen... Carolyn
Everyone fell silent as a dim figure emerged from the shadows. Pinned to the damp and mossy earth as she was, she could only see the lower quarter of the figure, and it wasn't until it stepped into the bright circle of firelight (gang members parting to left and right like a choreographed Red Sea) that Geraldine was able to make out the instantly recognizable footwear (calf-high Doc Martins spraypainted neon green) of that thieving magpie, her arch-rival, her nemesis, the girl who'd shamelessly stolen, practically out of Geraldine's arms, first Bobby DeBlanche and then, not six months later Jimmy Canuga the bitch Donna Tatliano herself... Philip
She blinked and the scene returned to normal. Jeremy was sitting on Pandora Holt's headstone quickly sucking down a Labatt's. spackle
"Shee-eesh," she thought, raising her palm to her forehead to feel her temperature. It seemed normal. "Musta been all those times I fell asleep watching The Warrioresses... that or too much Welsh rarebit..."
She broke off her reverie and looked up at Jeremy. "Hiya... Got one a them beers for me?"
Jeremy tossed her a Molson, but she dropped it, her depth perception was still off from the weird vision. She groaned and stooped down to pick up the evasive aluminum can. She groped the ground at her feet but the can had rolled a little ways and had fallen into a small crack. It was now wedged between an ancient looking tombstone and some dirt. Gertrude sauntered over to the grave and bent down to pick up the can, her eyes roamed over the grave as she did so. She began to scream as she realized what the blackened stone read. Aquila

May 3, 1982 October 31, 1999

"But but that's me!" gasped Geraldine. And Halloween was only two days away! Two days to live! Woe and sorrow! Eeeee! A, a, a, a brain tumor, that's it, because I keep getting confused, imagining my name is Gertrude instead of Geraldine... She fell into a dead swoon.


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