Once a swan a time: Parisianne Modert’s chapter two


Good morning from the Towers that are now and will forever be A Word with You Press.

Our contest to encourage/cajole/bribe/intimidate/threaten/coerce, or even Inspire to sit on your arse and actually write that novel you have spoken about to family, friends, and impressionable young and potentially available women/men is in its final phase.

We asked you to submit a prologue; then chapter one; then chapter two, had you made it to the finals.  We have just a few more entries to post before we select a winner. If you were not a finalist, but would like to be an anonymous judge for this contest, please send an email to thorn@awordwithyoupress.com.  Once all the entries have been submitted, I will send a pdf of all finalists to our judges, along with the criteria for judging.

In the meantime, here is chapter two from the faire Parisianne Modert.

(Please be advised, we are editors, not censors. Subject matter may offend the sensibilities of some readers, but, quoting David Foster Wallace, “Good fiction’s job is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”–But there is a quote I like even more: “Art  for me has become the counterbalance to a telescope searching a starless sky.”–Brilliant, the quote from Parisianne Modert herself.)

Smoke Veil Bridge


Parisianne Modert


The sweetness of the golden lit, waving field rich with wild flowers painted the endless meadow of Elysium with a fragrant breeze.  Below her bouncing blooms two naked women lay sleeping in each others’ arms.  Neither were still wearing their immodest lingerie nor their matching Givenchy, little black dresses which no seamstress would have been able to repair.  The two noveau, thin nudist and unconscious arrivals to the afterlife appeared so overly made up while sporting tangled birds’ nest hairdos that they could have been mistaken for Parisian, avant garde, runway models.  Their mascara having been spun all over their feminine faces changed the joined beauties’ look into LSD mating spiders webbing both surrealistic and gothic impressions.  How their middle backs had mutually gotten red lipstick smeared in the shape of a diamond was either nature’s erotic mating markers or a fortune teller’s turned over cards.  Salvador Dali might have described these ladies laying within the landscape scene as Giardino di Latrodectus mactans.  These black widow spider ladies in their twisting embrace, complete with somnambular smiles still needed a co-baptism to cleanse their Earthly, original sin away.

The warmth of the mulched ground gifted the lovers a virginal, honeymoon bed out of a nurturing, fertile garden plush with metamorphosed scents which naturally invaded their mutual dreamscape. Their black swan oneness swam through their minds as impressionistic wave reflections of unspoiled bliss.

Lovemaking aftermaths for female black swans means honking at the sky rather than a human one blowing cigarette smoke aftermaths to calm her insatiable lust for more than her male lover has given her.  While the black swan wears her feathers of pride on the outside offering them as a preened bed for her new born chicks, the human female wears her shamed blackened lungs on the inside believing her superior staying power over her man is chic noveau.  Both female species are haughty birds when dispassionately observed in the wild.  The female swan carries her clinging swanlings on her back so they will not drown; while the human female is capable of either drowning or clinging to her young far past the time they should leave her nest.  Being a lesbian human not interested in having children of her own, Rouxette had smoked poison to abort her own life and her lover Vixa would have failed any lifeguard examine.  Both had abandoned no babies nor children at their deaths on Earth as Sylvia Plath had once done.

Vixa Sinclair-James sighed with a throaty swan gasp before nestling her lips back into the exposed neck of Rouxette Belvedere.  Rouxette barely stirred with closed eyes humming contentment with a coy vibrato.

The enormous, turquoise butterfly that fluttered above counted slowly predicting five, but reached seven before the two drowned women sat up in shock.

“Rouxette?” tongue twisted Vixa in disbelief with a mouth fowler, more wide open and more filled with polluting debris than the Holland tunnel during the morning rush hour commute from Jersey.

“Well I’m not Holly Golightly into that good night Dylan Thomasina my English Muffin-skin.  You have breath like a backed up Sanisette swimming silently on the Seine.  Why can’t I see Vixa?”

“Mascara blindness Rouxette, you faithless, poison smoking tart.”

“Where the hell are we Vixa?”

“How am I supposed to know?”

“Is that Rex laughing at us?”

“No.  I don’t see him or anybody else.  Let me wipe that black crap out of your eyes.  Hold still woman.”

“O..o..www!!!” Rouxie whined.

“Sorry Eliza Doolittle, alcohol rubs was all I had.  Can you see anything clearly?”

“Yes if we’re on the View selling bunches of violets to Elisabeth Hasselbeck!”

“Funny, and I’m not Barbara Waters either, 20/20.  Thanks for booking us as strippers at a garden party, Ricky Nelson.”

“Are you blaming me for this?” Rouxie huffed with her arms crossed in front of her breasts.”

“Thanks to you, we went for a Parisian polar bear swim.  Yes, I’m blaming you … I mean I’m blaming Rex.  You and your not believing I love you and your damning us to who knows where.  No telling what you’ll be smoking next.”

“You don’t have to scream at me Vixa.  E-cigarettes were advertised as an in-between stage.  I was trying to quit smoking for you.”

“Don’t you dare say anything which includes in any form the words advertised as.”

“As in Rex’s unethical profession.  Sorry!”

“Not his name either Rouxie, but back to you were going to quit that nasty habit by trying to kill yourself with it prematurely?”

“Not until that little note of yours got delivered to me!  What choice did I have?”

“Choice, Rouxie?  To live for my love with you and give me yours!  And you must have already had the poison tube.  Didn’t you?  You never believed in my love for you.  Admit it!”

“I do now Vixa, so stop yelling at me!  Do you know how much discomfort I went through smuggling in that poison smoke tube in a tampon, dry jammed up my vagina?  It was murder to pull it out with no strings attached.”

“Your words, not mine, lover.  I didn’t send that note and my tampons have strings attached just like that cheating, gay, ex-husband of mine.”

“I clipped the strings, so it could go undetected during the pat down.”

“They have metal detectors at airports, Einstein.  Don’t e-cigarette tubes have metal casings?”

“Dah, the tampon wrap.  Sure they stopped me, but I told the man it was a birth control device.  He turned redder than the flashing light did!”

“Airport security men must be even more stupid than Rex.  My husband probably would have enjoyed smuggling it up his ass with a tail hanging out.”

“That jack ass probably would have.  Now I know what getting fucked by Rex must have been like for you.”

“No you don’t, because he only fucked me up the butt insisting he didn’t want children.”

“You didn’t either.  Remember?”

“Early in my marriage I did so want children and love children Rouxette.”

“Sorry, I hadn’t met you yet and didn’t know.  But what about the note?”

“I swear I didn’t write that note, Rouxette.  My dive into icy water should serve as proof to you that I left Rex and all his backdoor antics forever.  How could you believe otherwise?  We’d be together in a 5 star honeymoon suite bed with strawberries and champagne if you only had believed in our love.”

“I didn’t believe enough, because I was afraid of losing you back to Rex or another man, because you started our relationship bi-curious.  You must admit we have had our push me, pull me episodes.  Who wrote that note if you didn’t?  It matched your writing?”

“The manager of the catering service showed me that note.  When did I ever capitalize the j in Sinclair-James, Rouxette?”


“Rex’s fuck me, fake, monster boob secretary must have.  What’s her name … I know this one.”

“Who cares now, Vixa?  We’re together baby and I believe you.  None of the past matters now.  Please don’t be upset with me.”

“I’m not that much, but … um … Trixie?  No, that’s what she did for a living before Rex propositioned her off of El Cajon Boulevard … Dixie?   Her name is Dixie!  Yes, because I remember thinking Rex hired her to take his dix-tation …”

“A doggie style blow job with his extra-fine tip without ink south of the Mason-Dixon line?”

“Rex  asked me for a blow job only once thank God, but he got his wish with that blonde slut with Botox lips, silicon double-d breasts and a kindergarten education.”

“Rex is history, so don’t sweat it, Vixa.”

Did you know I walked in on Rex blowing another man just to get a cruise line account?” Vixa joked with a smirk.

“You mean Quincy Chase from those dinner parties your hubby was always throwing for his ad clients.”

“Throwing up soirées from a gag reflex was more like it Rouxie.  We only got invited to be French maids to serve the h’ordeuvres.”

“I admit I didn’t appreciate entertaining his horny, my wife doesn’t understand me, male cronies.”

“Those French maid costumes he dressed us up in didn’t cover much, but you must admit the tips for lap dances were good.”

“I only did it for you Vixa.  Why did you agree to that oh là là humiliation of us complete with derrière pinches?”

“Rex told me that he would cut up my cards if I didn’t earn my keep.  Imagine me not shopping?  My only pleasure was the naughty games we made up to shock those perverts.”

“I felt like we were stars of a peep show.”

“My favorite was that time you racked my tits on the pool table and masse kissed my center pocket through my net stockings.”

“Mine, too, especially when Quincy unexpectedly bridged your husband from behind.”

“Rex congratulated me about that one later, because the men including Quincy seemed to like that one so much.  I was addicted to my La Jolla lifestyle, Rouxie.”

“We both grew up dirt poor, Vixa.  You don’t have to justify anything with me.”

“At least you earned your wealth, Rouxette.  I was just a trophy wife for a queer man in denial, ashamed of what his business peers and I would think of him if we found out.”

“You couldn’t have guessed sooner about him Vixa.  Rex kept his secret well hidden with his macho attitude until Quincy.”

“How didn’t I suspect Rex with his perfect cedar lined, temperature control, organized systems.  He’s fussier about his hair and clothes with his various stylists than Marie Antoinette was about her coiffure and ball gown at the guillotine.”

“And both insisted on cake over nourishment.”

“Quincy’s the one who lost his head, not Rex.  I feel sorry for Quincy.”

“Not me.  Lost his head down Rex’s throat is more like it.  Caveat emptor his sperm bank.”

“Rex was an overly greedy prostitute, but Quincy was a gentleman to us and actually seemed to be in love with my husband, Rouxie. ”

“Love isn’t wanting to take a cruise ship up your husband’s fjord.”

“Everyone deserves love and happiness, Rouxie.  Quincy was lonely.”

“Do you think Rex will ever end up with Quincy now that you have left Rex for me?”

“Well, Rex has been smiling more since he started servicing the Chase Cruise Line account.  Rex’s male business partner, Bruce, with three kids told me all sorts of sorted details while trying to feel up my breasts last month.”

“And you let him?”

“Heavens no!  I slapped Bruce of course and chased you to Paris you jealous ingrate!”

“Ha ha, Quincy’s last name is Chase … but, then I did hear you at Parc De Bercy right before blacking out!  How did you know I would be there?”

“You’re an out of control hormonal romantic bitch in high heels, Rouxette.  We first kissed at that park in Paris.  Where else would you run off to so you could try to kiss off?”

“Doc ratted me out didn’t he?”

“I insisted he sit by me on the plane to London.”

“Doc is really English?”

“This isn’t the movies anymore, Holly Go-giving-your-black-vet-away.”

“Doc wasn’t black!  O, my Chevy!  I hope Cat and her found good homes.”

“There is no Cat Holly-go-scratch-fever-psychotic.   Your keys and registration will be recovered on that park’s bridge.”

“Thank you for finding me and saving my life.  This is not the honeymoon with you I dreamed of, but the flowers are so beautiful.  Think this place has a spa?”

“The humidity here is a spa complete with mud baths, but no towels.”

“Vanity, vanity, thou name is Vixa?  Do you still love me?”

“Damn it, Rouxie.  I dove at the Rouxette sunk rather than checking in at the Georges Cinq, you ditzy, flower girl.  I also could have been shoplifting diamonds at Hermes.”

“Hermes wasn’t open and Georges Cinq requires reservations during the holidays.”

Touché, Rouxie!  That was then, but the questions remain of where the hell are we and why does that monster sky blue butterfly keep staring at us?”

“I would have said it is more Tiffany blue, missy jewel thief, but butterflies don’t stare at people.  You’re paranoid as usual, Black Sabbath.”

“You look as much like Ozzie biting the head off a bat as I do, Rouxie, so don’t start with me and stay out of this you creepy papillon!  I think I hurt her feelings, Rouxie.  Sorry, whatever you name is.”

“Are you hearing yourself, Vixa?  Stop bothering that social butterfly and listen to me.”

“I’m listening, but I swear she is too.”

“Now the butterfly is female in your mind, Vixa?”

“Do men ever listen to us?”, Vixa challenged.

“But they have a pair of empty promises, cocoon sacks don’t they?”

“Rouxette Belvedere!”

“Missy Nosey Hovercraft Butterfly at 12 o’clock high … check.”

“Good … Finally I have your attention!”

“Note the wild flowers surrounding us Vixa and Parc de Bercy was a snowy winter scene.  What does that tell you?”

“It tells me we’re either dead as Rex’s snap-less dragon or you and I have been revived in an outdoor florist shoppe run by a drone spying, butterfly proprietress.”

“Why couldn’t both be true my vexed vixens?” the butterfly chimed in sweetly.

“Real cute with the ‘Eye In the Sky’ voice Alan Parsons-me-if-I-don’t-laugh,” Vixa scolded Rouxie.

“I didn’t say anything, Vixa?  Stop teasing me.”

“I didn’t say either, Rouxie.  I honestly thought that sticky sweet voice came from you.”

“Did that voice sound like mine you escapee from a butterfly hatchery?” Rouxie scolded.

“Well, no, lover, but if you didn’t speak and I didn’t, who did Queen of Jeopardy?”

“I’ll take Earth’s Most Obnoxious Butterflies for $2000. Alexis Trebek,” Rouxie continued with sarcasm.


“Female butterfly game show hostess … stay with your own program Vixa.”

“Ha, ha … yeah, right!  Now can you be serious, Rouxie?”

“We may be seriously fucking dead thanks to your bikini waxing husband!”

“Will you finally forgive me for marrying Rex once upon a time, so we can get to the bottom of this?” Vixa demanded.  “Are these blood-red flowers really my best seasonal look?  Given that blush color maybe we are in hell.”

“Vain as ever, you vixen vampyress, but yes, I forgive you while hoping he becomes a beauty school dropout in hell with Frankie Avalon grease plowing him.  Speaking of which … why would there be beautiful, other colors of flowers, sunshine and butterflies in hell?”

“I think you are on to something, Hercule Poirot.  Rex’s boy friend sent them to cheer us up?”

“You mean Quincy, whom insisted we all go to the zoo’s gorilla exhibit fundraiser?”

“Gay gorillas are like that,” Vixa teased.

“Not in the mood until we get this solved, Baby Jane Goodall,” retorted Rouxie.

“Well, this isn’t time for Wheel of Fortune insults either, Vanna White Wash-over-the-issue-at-hand,” Vixa huffed with her hands on her hips.

“Ladies, please!”


“I didn’t say that, Vixa.  Shut up and kiss me!”

“With your bottom of a dirty stream, morning breath?” Vixa miffed, refusing the advance of her lover.

“Not unless this place comes complete with mouthwash.”

“Maybe your butterfly lady can go shopping for you.”


“You’re the one who brought up Wings in this conversation, not me, Linda McCartney.”

“You never were a morning person, Rouxie.”

“Then you ask Wings what we are doing here.  Pretty please with a kiss on the cheek?”

“Very well, Holly-go-uppity.  Yoo-hoo, butterfly … yes, you.  Could you tell us why and where this deranged lady and I got sent after we died?” Vixa quizzed in a girl scout cookie voice and big eyes.  “Um … and could we please have a bottle of blue minty scope?”

“Look Vixa … a bottle of your Scope-this-out-of-the-blue.  Take a minty swig and spit. Good now hand it over so I can kiss you woman.  Thanks Linda!  Ask Mrs. McCartney up there why Paul isn’t dead, but we are?”

“So now you believe in butterflies who are free?” Vixa inquired in triumph.

“Sure, and lives across the water too, but wait until the bill for our marriage counseling session when her walrus-ship shows up.  Then we’ll find out how free all of this is, Vixa.”

“Anything you have to say before I shut you up with a kiss me?”

“I love you, Vixa, but your breath is still a little … that’s it.  Swish it around, let in the bliss, spray the ground and all morning ready and minty steady to kiss you, Betty.”

“OK, I’ll kiss you, Holly Go-Dick-and-Jane-poet if it will help you find Spot for your closeup.”

“Not with that attitude, Vixa DeMille.”

“Excuse me, spider ladies, but your answer is that you are here because of your karma and welcome to Elysium,” flutter-voiced Chandra le Papillon.

“Vixa, am I on magic mushroom?  Was that really you, Linda?”

“I heard her too, Rouxie. What is your real name? Wingsie?  Elysium?  Why does that sound familiar?”

“Wingsie?  Cute, Vixa.  Elysium is Greek for that new age, tantra spa you use to go to north of ‘Frisco to find yourself,” Rouxette sarcastically answered.

“O, Elysium Fields.  You mean we died and went to Hippie Hell?” Vixa laughed.

“O, but no, Vixa and Rouxie.  Elysium is your reward for the life you spent among the mortals.  Isn’t it pretty here?  I’m Chandra.”

“Vixa, your butterfly is talking again.  Make her stop.  I feel kind of hung over or may be I’m having a bad trip.  Damn, Piccadilly Circus-ed cab driver must have slipped me a tab of walking-on-sunshine.”

“Her name is Chandra, not Katrina, wave brain.  Don’t be rude.  Watch your manners for once, Rouxie.”

“Give me an example where I was ever rude to anyone, Vixa.”

“You kicked Rex in his Marx Brothers that night at the opera.”

“It’s not my fault if you married that contra-soprano.”

“Well, our marriage was no take-me-out-to-the-ball-game, Kitty Carlisle.”

“I’m getting impatient with you two, so can we talk?  My day workload consists of more than babysitting you two.”

“Rouxie, talk to Chandra.  Go ahead. Be polite.”

“So Chandra, is it fair to assume that you are a talking le papillon assigned to us?”

“At the moment part of that is correct.  We, who make up the grand counsel, thought this life form would make it easiest for you to accept your new home.”

“You’re getting somewhere, Rouxie, so ask her more.”

“So we really are dead, arrived here with breaths as fresh as the Thames when the sewers back up?”

“Not the way I would tell the story, but basically correct.”

“And we are naked rolling around in mud, because you were afraid we might catch cold in our Givenchy smocks which better be at the cleaners as we speak?”

“Such attachment to possessions is not getting us anywhere, Ms. Belvedere.”

“Sorry, Ms. High and Mighty thinking you are above us, but do you know how much those two dresses cost?  And where’s my tiara.  It was a gift from Vixa, so I want it back.  What are you going to do about that, Ms. Council Moth from the Lost Cocoon?

“O, none of us wear clothes or tiaras here in Elysium, dearie.”

“Naked forever?  I’m fine with Vixa and moi being naked forever while we are alone, voyeur, but I still want my tiara back!”

“You lost it on the other side while you were mortal, but you could make a prettier one out of our flowers perhaps?  We’d allow that.”

“Why you hippy-dippy guru kook.”

“Hush Rouxie!  Chandra.  May I call you Chandra?”

“Everybody does, hee … hee … hee.”

“So Elysium is neither heaven nor hell?”


“Does anyone ever go to heaven or hell, Chandra?

“Other than your 7-11s and California DMV, I have no idea sweetie. Tee-hee-hee.”

“So this garden world is our eternity, Miss California?”

“Also correct.”

“Please tell me I won’t have to put up with my homo-probe-ic husband ever again?”

“No can do sweetie, because it would be wrong to fib!”

“What!  Rouxette, find me a butterfly defibrillator on a telescoping pole.  Now, woman!  Don’t you dare laugh at me, Rouxie.”

“Why not, Dr. Amy Winehouse?”

“You want to go back to black, Rouxie?” Vixa threatened.”

“I won’t go to rehab, so, I say, no, no, no.  Don’t get your purse strap in a knot.”

“That purse strap in a knot is what got me dead in the first place, Missy Poison Smoke, but good question.  How large is this garden world, Chandra?”

“O, my, a thousand times more expansive that than itty-bitty Earth you came from.”

“Doesn’t sound like Rex gets to break my heart again, butterfly-cup.”

“But what if he misses you, dearie?”

“Please!  Don’t make me golden shower my girlfriend in front of you.”

“Ah, you don’t get what karma means.  We’ll work on that.”

“If we see him by mistake we promise to be nice, right, Rouxie?”

“No turning his culture club red, gold and green, chameleon?” Rouxie mocked.

“Stop it Rouxie!  As long as we don’t have to live with him or his Boy George what’s the big deal?  Chandra.  Think of how much Rex would hate seeing us naked and together.  Where’s your compassion?”

“I don’t understand sweetie Vixa.”

“We are his Church of the Poison Mind, Chandra Levy-us-alone.”, offered Rouxie.

“You are so bad Rouxie, but she’s right, Chandra.  Rex is miserable anytime he is around either of us.”

“Are you through insulting our plans, you two?  I’m getting impatient up here.”

“Sorry, Chandra, but I’ll bet that we don’t even see Rex anytime soon?”

“Given the expanse of human life I wouldn’t wager that bet, dearie?  Sorry. My bad.”

“Hey. I’m sorry too, Chandra and I am curious even if Rouxie isn’t.  Where is my … I’m guessing ex, because of the until-death-do-us-part vow.  I do feel a little guilty that I left him under such ugly circumstances.  It would be nice to apologize to him before telling him to kiss off for eternity.”

“Think ,Vixa. Let’s not nail Rex’s coffin lid closed.  Let Quincy nail him,” Rouxie playfully teased.

“Yes, what’s the hurry?  We would hate to deprive him of knowing true love with his man.  Do you know when Rex will die so we can prepare to console him?”

“O, no, sweeties.  Mortal life is free-will, not predetermined, but once he dies, we on the counsel get a report telling us who will be arriving in Elysium, sweetie spiders.  We believe that the sooner karma redemption begins the better, but only in its natural time.  An apology, by the way, can be a beautiful bridge to somewhere special.”

“Cute.  Save that joke for ugly Ted Stevens and his Alaskan cronies, Chandra.”

“Will you two take a good look at yourselves?”

“I know I look as strange as the names of Sarah Palin’s children,” Vixa barbed having been born in Wasilla, Alaska.

“You’d both break any mirror, but I meant the lives you have lived.”

“Can we start with a relaxing lavender bubble bath?”

“We have plenty of running streams to wash up in and lavender flowers!”

“And we can put our faces back on, right?”

“O, there is no makeup in Elysium, sweetie spiders.”

“Boost me up at her, Rouxie.  Come down here and say goodbye to your wings Chandra.”

“Not nice to fool with the counsel’s agent girls.  My motherly patience does have a limit.”

“Very well, you mother-flyer of mirth and girth.  Could you be a good mother-facilitator and find out what Rex’s due date is?  We want to throw Rex a waterfall shower,” Vixa sourly cooed.

“Let’s see … transmitter, receiver on.  Give me a sec.  Kiss or whatever if it helps to pass the time while I will be on hold.  Love is natural in Elysium.

This is Ms. le Papillon Sheryl … I wish to inquire about the due-date of one Rexford Harrison Belvedere-Sinclair-James of La Jolla, California, USA, Earth.  Yes, I’ll hold … one flutter, two flutter … that was quick, Sheryl … O, how delicious … you’re serious? …That is the same gentleman I saw earlier today? … You know how bad I am with names … Why if my wings weren’t glued on …I ’ll tell them.  Be a sweetie and burn me a copy of his recording this call and this interview I’m having with Rouxette and Vixa.  You just murder me, Sheryl!  Tee-hee … Got to go.”

“Spill the bad news at 11, 5 minute memory!”

“Hold a sec sweetie, yes, Sheryl.  The counsel just made a change to my earlier recommendation … immediately … why? … O those words … yes, how clever of them … yes, I see the wisdom … add my approval as well … thank you, my flockie.  Tee-hee.”

“Is the bad news about us, giggles?” Vixa pleaded.

“Talk to the wings ’cause it is not bad news about anyone.  In fact it is a very wise decision which I cannot at this time divulge, because it is confidential.  Please behave!”

“Hand me that rock, Rouxette!  That mother-floater up there deserves a grounding.”

“Let me fly a little higher just to be on the safe side … good.  Don’t worry your curious spider faces over this late incoming addendum.  My fellow counsel members even surprise me at times.”

“The right wing and left wing not talking to the antennae?   We get it Chandra Lev-ing-us-out-of-the-loop.  So this mystery does include us?”

“No, well, it does indirectly.”

“It’s about Rex isn’t it, dumdum sucker-punched?”

“Not saying, so stop asking about this, Rexford.”

“Hmmm … So tell us, Chandra.  How bad will our futures be here in flower power hell?” Vixa sounded less than confident while glaring at Rouxette not to embellish any.

“The dumdum reference will go on your personal file for training purposes Vixa, but so far both your redemptions should be spectacular and everything you always wanted.”

“Will you even remember any of this wingtips?” retorted Rouxie.

“I remember that this conversation is being recorded by Sheryl, dearie.  Counsel policy, so don’t sweat it.  Both of you are a challenge, but it will all work out for the best in time.  Just listen please.”

“We’re listening Chandra,” Vixa smiled while elbowing Rouxie to shut up.

“See that grass roofed, cutesy little cottage over there to your immediate right?”

“No, stand up with me Rouxie and don’t slouch.”

“Yes, mother grizzly puss.  I see a cottage too short for a Hobbit, fluffy smoke from a chimney. Check,” Rouxette announced cautiously waiting for the next high heel to drop.

“We’re not going to like this are we, Chandra?” Vixa gulped.

“It’s amusing really.  Do either of you believe in karma?”

“Um … kind of … Rouxette?”

“I believe we’re going to, so should we be sitting down for this one Miss Campy-Flag-Flying Director?” Rouxie asked with attitude.

“I would if I were you, sweeties.  Comfy?  Hug each other.  Aw … that’s better isn’t it?”

“Get it over with and just tell us,” Vixa encouraged.

“It might help the shock if you kissed first.  I’m ringing my wedding reception glass.”

“That did sound like a champagne glass ringing.  She’s scaring me, Vixa.”

“Kiss me or we’ll never get rid of her. We’re … ummm …. ummm.”

“Sweet, but you can get a room later over in the cottage later … deep breath … here we go … your Rexford tripped trying to cook pretend swan eggs named after you two for a soufflé and died of gas inhalation in your double swan oven.”

“I turned the pilot light off, oh, dear!  I wasn’t coming back, the maid had the day off and Rex hasn’t cooked since college.  Why are you laughing, Rouxette?”

“You suddenly look like that black swan I saw on St. James Lake, Vixa.”

“Well, you like one too feather brain,” Vixa retorted while crooning her long neck with red bill dipped in white out.”

“Hey, what gives butterfly churn of fate?” Rouxie demanded with her new red bill flapping.

“Neither of you ladies behaved very well during your mortal lives, so think of your eternity as a learning experience brought on by the bad karma you caused yourselves and others.”

“Rouxie and I are stuck as plus size, black feathered, red billed, white lipstick swans with PMS for eternity?”

“Swans don’t have PMS, dearie, but you do have your season of … well, best that be a surprise.  Both of you will live as black swans until and unless you redeem yourselves.  That’s why Rex was placed here with both of you.”

“Tell Chandra I’m a white swan, Vixa.”

“Don’t start with me, Rouxie.  You make a very pretty black swan.  At least your bill matches your name.”

“I know.  Dah!  And you are pretty, too, but I wonder what Madame Butterfly and her council are turning your E-Rex-tionless into.”

“I left him for your fat feathers, so who cares?  No, I refuse to live with Rex another moment.  Find Rouxette and me other living arrangements or we will.”

“No can do, bitter sweeties.  Counsel rules are counsel rules.  Your destiny or opportunity for redemption is with Rex as Rex is now.  Rex awaits both of you over at the cottage and is expecting both of you. So be good girls and waddle over to your new digs unless you want me to turn nasty,” Chandra spit out her marching, trying not to laugh at the awkward gait of the two black swans‘ first steps.”

“And what if we refuse?” Vixa challenged her tormentor turning her head up towards the sky.

“I’ll be forced to demote you two into the grossest back birthing, constant pregnant toads on the bottom of a muddy river bed you ever threw up in.”

“You wouldn’t dare!” screamed Vixa.

“I saw an Amazon River special on those creatures, Vixa.  Don’t argue with me, woman!  We’re going now, Vixa!” ordered Rouxie.

“Satisfied, Madame Butterfly?” Vixa hissed at the air. “Does Puccini know what a bitch you are, Chandra?”

“Easy,Vixa. Think of puking baby toads out from the bottom of muck for eternity.”

“Where did she go, Rouxie?”

“Straight to cryogenic cocoon hell in Sweden with her wings pulled off slowly over a week, if I had my way.”

“I’m with you on that one, but do these feathers make me look fat?”

“Still that vain, Vixa?  But I love you!  We’re both fat slobs on land, so shall we keep waddling before toads start bubbling out our backs?”

“I’m just grateful we both like sashimi, but why am I not hungry?”

“How do we get anywhere like this?” Rouxette flapped.

“We’ll learn, but I’m putting my big web feet down with Rex.  No cygnets riding around on my back just because I no longer have a figure.”

“What are those, Vixa?  Speak English.”

“Swanlings, Rouxie!  As in Rex grabs me by the back of the neck and sprays me up the three in one girl chute while half drowning me and then you.  Haven’t been there and don’t want to start now.  This karma business changes everything.  What if he isn’t gay anymore?”

“Hey, we’re still a couple, so let’s make the best of it.  Rex will just have to masturbate or chase other girl or boy swan feathers if he expects to get lucky.  I’m not letting you go now that we’re finally a couple of … well, we’ll work on that part.”

“You’re right, Rouxie.  That twit Chandra probably turned him into a Peacock-less metrosexual.”

“That’s what he always seemed to me so that can’t be it.  Come on, I can’t wait to see his stupefied expression when we strut in.  We are so beautiful that he’ll eat his heart out, Vixa.”

“He will if he is given a heart the size of his dressing mirror.”

“Hee … hee .. hee … Let’s hurry.  Race you.”

“Hey, no fair!”

Vixa and Rouxie waddled with wings flapping for balance to the front door of the miniature cottage and peeked in just as Rex turned to greet the reluctant roommates.

“Rex … you are so a …!” Vixa managed as Rouxie did a dizzy double take in the opposite direction towards her lover.  The crashing of their bills together caused their mutual bumping of foreheads and falling backwards out cold with their tail feathers up in the air as if they were at their OBGyn.

“Hey, you think I like having to live as a white female swan, girls?  Don’t you two black beast play swan lake on me!  Aren’t we past that ballet suite death?  You both got what and who you wanted Vixa, but look at me, look at me!  Very well, give me the silent treatment, but dinner is just ruined is all.  I slave to give you both a housewarming with a proper welcome and look what I get for my troubles!”

Rex wanted to wretch because she was gazing at both Vixa’s and Rouxette’s sexually vulnerable exposed female cloaca.  Gasping in shock and horror Rex fluttered out,  “O, my sardine soufflé!  I’m either a straight woman swan, a racist or both?  Chandra!  I know you can hear me.  This is unacceptable.  Change me, change me right now or I swear it is back into the oven with me.  What would Quincy say if he had to see me this way?  I admit I love him.  Satisfied?”

The cottage shook from an Elysium quake; Rex fell on top of his roommates which woke them up.

Vixa laughed, Rouxette laughed until they wet themselves and Rex.

”Don’t you two laugh at me.  I’m no lesbian and ew black swan piss!  What’s so funny Vixa?”

“I accuse you Mrs. Peacock of murdering Miss White Swan with a gas oven in the kitchen.”

“You never could answer any of my questions, Vixa.”  Rex huffed while strutting her mute feathers over to the mirror above the oven before gasping in shock and passing out.


Back at her desk within counsel headquarters, Chandra closed the folder of one Quincy Chase before wiping the tears from her eyes.  With a deep breath and a sigh, Chandra landed on the her intercom perch, “I’ll see Mr. Chase now, Sheryl, so please send him in.”

“Ms. le Papillon will see you now Mr. Chase,” the crow secretary announced.

Chandra opened her wings before speaking to her guest with a kind smile, “Welcome to Elysium, Mr. Chase.  On behalf of my fellow counsel members and myself, I am happy to tell you that you will be spending eternity as a gorgeous, feather fanned, male peacock with your Rex James.”

Quincy put his human hands over his mouth with tears of joy instantly flowing.

“Tell me though, Mr. Chase, how do you feel about baby birds?”



10 thoughts on “Once a swan a time: Parisianne Modert’s chapter two

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    I wish to thank both Mr. Thornton Sully and the fine staff of A Word With You Press for allowing me the opportunity to be published again, without censorship and trust in using the photo art I submitted along with the “Fields of Gold” by Sting. The video opens up what is remaining in both Chapter Three which currently is in the edit process and what will be the remainder of the novel I intend to complete.

    “Smoke Veil Bridge” is a novel I never dreamt of writing, but both as a writer and woman my life’s struggles brought the prologue out of me which I had a compulsion to share with you. Every single one of my beta listeners told me it was too shocking and personal to send in which is why I did along with the fact that I was awed by the raw emotions and cadence of a woman losing her mind from believing she had lost the love of her life. The redemption she, Rouxette, receives is the second chance for happiness we all deserve.

    I choose this novel over the other two, because I write best when personally engaged by my characters and they are freshly tearing upon my inner soul. The other two prologues were created and/or edited to fit novels previously written. In the spirit of this contest, I preferred the pressure of the novel-in-progress with much deeper emotions and less history, politics and believe it or not sexuality. The other two novels sizzle in spots.

    “Smoke Veil Bridge” is not my normal structure for my novels (it is number 13). The others begin with idealistic relationships which endure all things and the scandals begin about 50 pages into the novels. If you have read the prologue, chapter one and chapter two, you know all three are raw and unseemly. Redemption begins with the last sentence of chapter two above.

    For those of you unfamiliar with my writing style, I am an alternative romance writer and poet with Victorian narratives which may be lyrical as well and a contemporary, story teller with absurdist, surrealist, science fiction and paranormal leanings. The use of humor to me allows a naughty relief from very serious, real life disturbances such as suicide, jilted love, infidelity, orientation confusion, identity issues. Within my style there are politically incorrect statements on relationships and within this one smoking is used for shock and subtext.

    My best wishes to each of my competitors which I can afford given the responsibility of picking a winner is not mine. I assure each of you that I will pleased no matter who is chosen as the winner of “Once Upon A Time”.

    It has been an honor during these four months to have three prologues, a chapter one and this chapter two published. A substantial percentage of my dearest friends are staff members, writing contributors to or readers of the fine written works offered so graciously here at A Word With You Press.

    I thank you for reading my stories, writing critiques and being such an important part of my life.

  2. Parisianne Modert says:

    The photo above when enlarged is more clear, but it contains five of the main characters:
    Rouxette and Vixa are both female black swans.
    Chandra is the female turquoise butterfly,
    Rex (Regina starting in Chapter 3) is a female peahen,
    Quincy is a male peacock,
    and Sheryl couldn’t be anything but a female crow (music joke).

    The video version choice of the song I wanted is subdued on purpose to allow the listener/viewer to reflect on the lyrics rather than the melody. The sting lyrics are somewhat different from the later Eva Cassidy version. His original lyrics as author of the song were the ones I wished to convey to set up Chapter Three in case this contest goes into overtime.

    Again I wish to convey a thank you to the readers, judges and the good people at A Word With You Press. I wish to thank the editor for allowing all 5 of my photos and videos to be displayed as requested for my 3 prologues, chapter one and chapter two entries. I consider the art essential to the story telling effort.

  3. Parisianne Modert says:

    Continuing on with my apparent monologue here…The contentious nature of most relationships as love-hate ones is the vehicle which carries the novel forward towards redemption. What begins as a triangle of Rex-Vixa-Rouxette and Rex-Quincy has been augmented with Inspector-Rex and Chandra-Vixa-Rouxette and Chandra-Rex. There is also the cliche of “birds of a feather flock together” which is why there is a split of swans and peacock-peahen. The differentiation allows Chandra to remain above the fray of snippy insults which lay beneath the lover’s more pleasantries with each other. The insults link the characters and allow comedy relief to very seriously disturbing suggestions which are part of life.

    We have yet to meet Gregg Grizzly or his assistant Riley Wolf or have we? We have yet to meet the transformational psyche of one Regina Peahen who we recognize in chapter one as Rex James and chapter two as Rex White Swan turned Rex Peahen. For those of you who see the Kafka influence in me congratulations.

    There are many mysteries still to unfold within the novel of Smoke Veil Bridge. I hope my loyal readers are as anxious as I am to have them told.

    Final word for now to make a point: Out of the 13 comments about the 4 finalists pieces so far, I have made 7 of them. I would much rather field critiques from you the reader than to continue this wordy process on my own. Please help both myself and my competitors/friendly finalists out by becoming an active participant. We are all responsible for the successes of A Word With You Press and this wonderful publishing site. AWWYP is a treasure none of us would wish to see disappear. Let’s help those at A Word With you Press out by becoming more engaging with our time and energy. AWWYP is one of the most rare and valuable opportunities that a writer can hope to be a part of. Thank you for reading my published works here and your support of this publishing site past, now and in the future.

  4. Parisianne Modert says:

    With Laura Girardeau’s chapter two being posted, I want to express what an honor it is to be a published writer on A Word With You Press and have the opportunity to read and critique such fine literary entries.

    One of my traditions on this site is to be give my overall opinion of who won any given contest and why. My opinion is about 50/50 usually in agreement with the judge or judges, so don’t take my opinion all that seriously.

    My decision on this contest of many months with one more month to go before the official judgement is announced is a more difficult one than I ever imagined with one notable exception being Mr. Dilts who I hope will find more charity from the official judges than myself. With that being said, ladies and gentlemen I have a four-way split decision resulting in a draw and here we go in alphabetical order by last name:

    1. Laura Girardeau for lyrical beauty of inner childhood to early teenager becoming woman
    1. Wendy Joseph for outstanding research and compelling journal manuscript storyline
    1. Robert Marazas for musical masculinity, time era capture and mysterious beginnings
    1. Parisianne Modert for disturbingly humorous and off-color angst, wit and dialogue

    I will tell you that the contest to me became a photo finish at the wire which is too close to call even upon careful examination of such photo. Given this conundrum, I agree with our editor with the exception of the one finalist person not mentioned above in my opinion. The eventual decision of the judges, I imagine, will be very close and depend on who the set of judges are. I wish them well in their deliberations.

  5. Parisianne Modert says:

    Dear Judges:

    Let me be honest with you. I wish to win this contest with a puff of blue smoke. Please cast your vote for passionate naughtiness in the form of my “Smoke Veil Bridge”.

    Kisses with scandalous flowers,
    Madame Parisianne

  6. Parisianne Modert says:

    Here is what I want all you readers to do for me. Go to Rile’s (handsome young writer in a hat) (the Editor-In-Chief used a picture of Robin Williams of as Mork from Ork) and donate to get Rile’s novel published. Supporting young writers assures that literature will live on and ever better into the future. Today we see the remarkable success stories of the YA market if that is the one Rile is publishing under.

    You have my donation and support Rile,
    Scarletina la Gatta (Parisianne Modert)

  7. Laura Girardeau says:

    First of all, what a lovely title for the book. Next I would like to comment on the tone. I love the juxtaposition of the flowery tone in the intro (akin to a Monet painting) and the sudden, sparky dialogue. The beginning of the chapter (setting the setting) feels timeless and eternal, beautiful and lyrical. However, this is almost tongue in cheek. We know something else is coming. Then the dialogue hits us, so honest and modern-day, witty and funny. You are a master of paradox! The fact that the rest of the story is nearly all dialogue, with no breaks for narration or images, is interesting. It’s actually fitting…women do like to talk, to spar and share and challenge, to get closer through this process. Then the humor and fantasy of the ending. A mixture of tones, times and styles…a beautiful palette that is so “you”, Parisianne!

  8. Parisianne Modert says:

    Thank you Laura. The purpose of the flowery world is meant to make a polar shift from the ugliness and greed of Earth for our characters. The residents of Elysium are there to bloom just like the flowers being in symbiosis with the afterlife and themselves. The prologue was as ugly and raw as life gets with no hope of any afterlife. Both Rouxette and Vixa are shocked to wake up at all after Rouxette has committed suicide and Vixa has drown trying to save her dead lover. Rex has died out of stupidly celebrating his wife’s and her lover’s death. He is a twisted form of sociopathic vileness. His wife Vixa was vain, a criminal and selfish. Rouxette begins as a character lacking faith. We will learn later in the novel how she earned her wealth. Vixa starts the novel as the Holly Golightly look alike, but Rouxette has been the truer example of how Holly Golightly manipulated people to gain her rise from poverty.

    Chapter Three which is still in major edit will tell us more about Quincy, his father and the illusive butterfly named Chandra which Chapter Two above only hints at. Writing a novel is similar to unfolding an old time map out of a glove compartment in a DeSoto. It is done carefully crease by crease as more and more than is connected is revealed. A novel writer to be successful in her art must print the basic outlay of the novel before folding it up for the reader to discover section by section as if by magic. I hope “Smoke Veil Bridge” will be a full novel of such venture in the future. For now, the characters are dancing in my mind, each telling their tales to me.

  9. Parisianne Modert says:

    Dear fellow writers, honorable staff and punster in chief,

    The feathers are flying and so is the love in Elysium which means I don’t play nice or fair when it comes to writing or getting novels published. Chapter Three, a photo and video have been submitted for “Smoke Veil Bridge”. Sorry (ha! – please!) but August 30th was just too long to wait to send in what I completed today. I accept if I am up to my Paul Anka in trouble here, because guess who is coming to dinner and who is going to be having a baby (or more)?

    Tell me dear readers, “How do feel about baby birds?” – Love, Parisianne

  10. Parisianne Modert says:

    Dear readers,

    I wanted to address the style I use which to me seems like common sense. Picture you are going to a party, a meeting of a friend you haven’t seen for a long enough time that they have changed. Perhaps you are with someone else as their home comes into view. The lyrical narrative of the environment and surroundings are exactly what you would do other than having questions because you probably have a bit of anxiety about the unknown of the day and place. Remember that you have never been here before. Once the door opens and your friends or new acquaintances are with you then you start talking and forgetting about the environment other than how it effects you.

    Dialogue allows each character to explain themselves to you, because you are within my scenes or my scenes don’t work. Fiction is escapism no matter in what form it takes. People read to imagine, exist in a different world with the characters who they are meeting as invited guest to me. Welcome to Elysium. Chapter Three includes those reflections one makes before reuniting, to explain them self to their travel companion in the new world of the afterlife. Take in the surroundings, become more familiar with Quincy, Chandra and the powerful, secretive Gregg Grizzly. We also discover if Rex has changed her name and what that might be as our characters and you adjust to the afterlife.

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