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6 P.M., Friday - Playing time 1:00:00

You force your key into the front door, heave the door open and kick your shoes off, and head straight to the liquor cabinet. You reach in and grab the Bombay Sapphire, mix yourself a nice g&t. You plop down on your couch, kick your feet up, and let the day soak out of you, as the gin soaks in.

(6:00:00) - Cake - Satan is My Motor

Checking the mail you've dropped on the coffee table, you peruse through the usual bills, junk mail, and so on, when you come across a letter from the girl you took to the senior prom. Seems she's getting married. Was it that long ago? The night in the back of your mom's Camry?

(6:03:11) - Stevie Wonder - I wish

Having finished your second drink, you head to your bedroom, and toss the remainder of your clothes on the bed. Standing there in your underwear, you check yourself out in the mirror. Is your hair thinning? Is your stomach becoming more of a gut? Crap. You turn the shower on and hop in, hoping to wake up a bit before dinner and a night out.

(6:07:22) - Skee-lo - I wish

The shower never fails to wash off the stress left over after the drinks have kicked in.

(6:11:30) - Tortoise - TNT

Turning off the knobs to the shower, stepping out into the cold air, the weekend has finally started. As you rummage through your drawers for a pair of shorts, you wonder whats gonna happen tonight.

(6:19:02) - Air - Talisman

Heading on to the kitchen, you open the refrigerater, hoping something is going to jump out at you. You grab some chicken, some pasta, some other random ingredients and get to work.

(6:23:18) - Gomez - Soul Kitchen (cover of The Doors)

Water's boiling, chicken's on the Foreman.

(6:27:29) - Stereolab - Parsec

You throw it all on the plate, realizing that you are supposed to be leaving in 30 minutes. You pour yourself a glass of wine and sit down to eat. You feel a bit rushed, but you've got a good feeling about tonight.

(6:33:03) - Charles Mingus - Boogie Stop Shuffle

Rinsing off the plate and throwing it in the dishwasher, you head for the bedroom and rip open your closet, hoping to find the perfect outfit.

(6:38:04) - Beck - Beercan

Slipping into your favorite outfit, you're reminded of how crappy you felt just 45 minutes ago. Enough of that shit.

(6:42:04) - Weezer - The Good Life

Fixing your hair, you start to feel right. You call a couple of your buddies to double check the plans for the evening.

(6:46:14) - Archers of Loaf - Web In Front

Plans settled, its just about time to leave. One last look in the mirror, and you're good to go. Damn you're sexy!

(6:48:17) - Count Basie - Cute

Waiting for your friend to pick you up outside, you think about that blonde from earlier today, and the redhead from the bar last week. Maybe tonight...?

(6:51:27) - Blondie - One Way Or Another

He pulls up, you hop in, and turn up the stereo.

(6:55:03) - The Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock

Weekend Sound Track
5 P.M., Friday | 7 P.M., Friday

Between the PMS and the HRT, that room is so thick with hormones, it could make a man sterile. I guess I should be grateful that my ageing face has been left to my own devices. "She's lived with it for 28 years, Margaret, she knows what suits it best." Aunt Ruth had barked at my mother, before they all closed in on Jill like a pack.

Ah yes, sister darling, sister dear; mirror, mirror on the wall... or was that a stepmother? I forget. Who cares? Bitch. Who would have thought such a sunny disposition would eternally rain on my parade?

And what a lovely bright, sunny day, too. I bet if I ever do get married - and statistically speaking that's not likely to happen now that Jill's snared my leading man's cousin. But if I did manage to do it, and chose the middle of the Sahara in the middle of winter, there'd probably be a thunderous downpour that not only ruined the day, but also linger far longer in the guests' minds.

I'm sure that it was the 18th Century when last the bride, groom, maid of honour and best man were so horribly interconnected. Or since the maid of honour and best man have been so widely speculated about. Picture it: brothers-in-law and cousins; sisters and cousins, even. Uug. It's making me queasy just thinking about it. And I don't think it would go down well if I did hurl all over this bridesmaid's dress. Such as it is.

I do wish Aunty Mabel would get here. It's only in her company that I'll bet any respite from all the "Now, now, Katherine, don't be glum. Tony will make an honest woman of you one day." Not to mention the hushed tones of: "Have you thought about getting pregnant - by accident of course?"

Without spending too much time on the irony of suggesting pure deceit to make me honest, I must say that I am quite convinced that I couldn't be more honest. Living in sin in this small town for over 6 years! That's one little record Jill let me keep all to myself. For the first year or so I kept looking over my shoulder for someone with a great big Scarlet A.

Now about this pregnant thing. Have I thought about it? Only since I was eight. It took me a while to get over the shock of where babies really come from. And yes, I've been seriously contemplating it now that the end of my fertile years is rapidly approaching. But frankly, Mother, Nana, Aunts Ruth and Sue, one has to have sex, as you so rightly pointed out to six-year-old me, in order procreate. There hasn't been too much of that happening around my watering hole lately.

In fact, it's been in steady decline since doey-eyed me realised that Tony asked me to move in with him for convenience's sake, not as a try before you buy scheme. Yip, sex seems to have lost its lustre for Tony, now that it's neither stolen in my childhood bedroom nor done in brazen defiance of the town's sixteenth century ideals. Or maybe Tony's just in cohorts with Jill (since in a few hours they'll be family) and he read somewhere that I was approaching my sexual prime.

Oh fuck! Here comes Aunty Ruth. Good thing I'm finished.

"Aw Katherine! Less is more!" followed, in what she thought was a whisper, by "Did you realise that you can't polyfiller in the wrinkles?"

Well, no, actually. I just figured Jill had enough on for the whole congregation and someone ought to consider the lab animals. If only I had Aunty Mabel's courage - or brazen disregard, more likely. She'd have said it for sure, instead of offering that reticent smile. No wonder they think I'm stupid.

"What's the point of doing herself up, Ruth?" Every face in the room, besides my own, cringed as they recognised the voice. "It's not as if anybody's going to take any photo's of her except me." Everyone spun around, the matriarchs glaring at the source of their offence. "Besides, she's beautiful and radiant the way the Good Lord made her. Not that that dog-turd of a boyfriend-come-cousin-in-law notices anymore."

"Aunty Mabel!" I cried, leaping to my feet and beaming like a Cheshire Cat, before adding, mid hug, for her ears only, "I'd have died if you'd come a minute later." I was so relieved to see her I completely missed her attack on Tony.

"Now settle, Petal. Wait until you see the wedding present I've brought you." Mabel replied.

"Mabel," interjected Sue tiresomely, "It's Jill who's getting married today. Isn't the gift for her?" Ruth stifled a giggle as she and Sue exchanged knowing glances.

My silent gaze shifted from aunt to aunt, and Mabel responded: "No, Susan. Jill's fondue set is on the table right next to the cheap one you bought her. I'm talking about the present I brought the best lady. But enough about that. I'd better be off. I wouldn't want to upstage the bride by arriving late. Sweet Jesus knows I've had my fair share of being last into the church."

With a "Petal, we'll talk at the reception", Aunty Mabel whirled out of the room.

That silver lining was beginning to show. Now if someone could just get all the oestrogen out of the house, the sun might break through for a spell or two.

Part 1 -- Part 2 -- Part 3 -- Part 4 -- Part 5

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