Font: Quay Sans
Year created: 1990
Chapter: “Quintina’s Birthday”
Book: Third book in my Max’s House series (terrible, unoriginal, inaccurate working title is Resolutions)
Written: Early 1995
Handwritten; later transcribed into MacWriteII on ’93 Mac
My earliest Max’s House books need a lot of work, and this one is no exception. I’d guess this particular one was somewhere below 90,000 words when I finally converted and reformatted the six files I’d transcribed from the handwritten original. This is pretty damn long for one of these books. Now, I’ve gotten it down to around 74,000 words, and that’s still too long. This book, and the 6th and 8th books, are by far the most overwritten and in need of radical rewriting and restructuring. So many scenes are so freaking pointless and cluttery.
This, though, is one of my favorite pieces of the original material. Quintina and her family were initially based on a friend of mine and her family, perhaps a bit more strongly than some of my other characters who were only based on friends and acquaintances in terms of physical appearance. But the Holidays gradually evolved into their own people.
Mr. Seward and Bambi have recently come home from the hospital not with their first baby together, but with five of them. After getting over their initial anger and horror, Max and his cousin Elaine contacted a new-fangled TV producer/director to cash in on the quints. So many years later, this storyline seems like an eerie premonition of “reality” TV. The show is a bomb from day one, and the producer/director is all kinds of creepy and controlling, but the Sewards are unable to get out of this commitment just yet.
So to try to relax, Elaine heads off for Quintina’s birthday party. It’s a girls-only party, but Tina’s brothers Gyll (i.e., Gil) and John sabotage everything and make this not only a far from relaxing party, but a birthday party that won’t soon be forgotten.
[Quintina] wailed as her brothers grabbed the guests’ board games, opened them, and dumped the contents all over the street below.
“Ooh!” John grabbed her cake and had a great time pretending to drop that too. “Shall I tell Mom you said that?”
[After her brothers are forced to go outside to pick up the games] Quintina leaned through the window and gave them the finger. “Mommy, John’s making faces!”
“‘Dear Sex Therapist,’” John read in a squeaky voice. “‘I was stalked. Shall I see a professional, or—’”
“Cool! A dare card!” John picked up a card for Teen Chat. “Gyll, run naked into the street and scream: ‘I’m in love with another man!’”
“John, who guest starred as Ida for a week on Steam Line when the real Ida was getting tested for syphilis?”
Mrs. Holiday piled enough cake and junk food onto each paper plate to feed the entire Army.
“Don’t sing ‘Happy Birthday.’ It’s corny,” Quintina ordered.
“Happy birthday—” her brothers began loudly and obnoxiously.
She spilled milk down the front of John’s slacks. Soon they were screaming and fighting, again.
“First we vote on the band,” Mrs. Holiday said. “Seven choices, and vote only once. The winning band comes through the door.”
“Who wants Frank Sinatra?”
Violet jumped out of her chair, danced around the room, and let out a SCREAM, thinking her beloved Blue Eyes was at the door.
“That ain’t fair!” Julieanna screamed. “I wanted to vote for Frankie too! You let us vote again or else!”
“Let’s vote, again. The Balls can leave.” She went to the door and sent them away.
“So then we have a three-way tie this time?”
“I will send away The Lovechildren, The Guns, and cancel the date with Sinatra.”
“NO!” Violet wailed.
Their mother shut the door and came back in. Then she double-taped the muzzles in place.
“Who wants Frank Sinatra?”
Guess who went orgasmic for the fifth time in a row?
“A double tie now? I will cancel the date with Frank.”
“Then we won’t vote,” Violet sulked.
“Yeah. If Frankie doesn’t play, we leave,” Julieanna announced.
“Violet is the deciding vote. Violet, we have voted six times now!”
Violet didn’t give a flying damn.
“Quintina will decide for you then!”
Violet could care less.
“I cast Violet’s deciding vote,” Quintina said. “The Abortions!”
[Tina’s favorite member, 18-year-old Pauly, who goes to their school] He got down on his hands and knees in front of her as Danny sang “Exploring.” “Maybe when you’re older, if we’re both single, I might date you. I like you, for a kid!” He autographed a paper, gave it to her, and went onstage.