What does one do with bubbies? Does one shake them and quake them and hopefully not break them? Or do they just dangle and bulge, like boats or balloons? We sought to find the answers to these questions last night.

Teresa de Medici has a problem with boobages. You see she's just a bit bee-stung, mosquito-bit. There ain't much there. Though her hair spills out of her workmanlike head in soupy tendrils, like squid ink pasta through a colander, and though her ass has been bouncing a steady series of quarters since the early-late 80s, something is still amiss. Her husband, who Teresa sagely and seriously describes as an ass guy, doesn't much care. He's too busy, I dunno, goin to work, to care about such things. But hey, happy wife, happy life. So if T.T. wants some bears? Go get 'em.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. We must start somewhere towards the very beginning. Back when silicone hadn't been scooped out of the valley and stuffed down some lady's front like two oversized crumpets into a toaster. Before all this, the ladeez were going to Atlantic City. You see they really needed a break from all the wear and tear of swimming around in giant vats of white wine, which is what they do when they're not in A.C. Freshly brined and tanned, the ladies—Strega Nona the Brave, Dina the Darling, Teresa the Titless, and Friend the Forgettable—trotted off to some fancy dancy hotel/spa kinda place that almost looked like Las Vegas, even though it was in Atlantic City, which is sort of to Las Vegas what an old tractor behind a barn is to Monte Carlo.


The girls didn't do much. They sat by the pool and Teresa cooed about fancy drinks and Dina apologized for her weirdo friend and Strega Nona just looked stern and bird-like, alert and vigilant. One begins to suspect that perhaps Stregz wasn't kidding when she espoused her "I'll fuck you up" attitude about protecting her and hers. One begins to suspect that perhaps Streg goes looking for conflict, her balled fists twitching and whirring, aching to be used. "Just gimme one good reason...." she'll say menacingly to a cowering El Salvadoran cleaning lady. An angry bulldog of a woman. An Italian pitbull who remembers Napoli.

But what the ladies did best was shop for jewels. Diamonds and emeralds and rubies and sapphires and more diamonds and rhinestones and garnets and amethysts and opals and diamonds and pearls. But mostly diamonds. Mostly Teresa wanted diamonds. "Hey guys... what do you think about this bracelet?", Teresa whined, holding up a fly strip of diamonds. "It's two hundred and eighty thousand." Dina smirked and just rolled her eyes. Teresa, having been half serious about actually maybe buying the gaudy thing, smiled stupidly. The bracelet glittered, like two houses for low income families dancing in the sun. Teresa then tried on a million dollar cat o' nine tails made of diamonds. Oh, how I wish she'd bought it. Just to see her try to count out a bamillion dollars in cashmoney hundreds. "Wait... lemme start over. One one hundred, two one hundred, three one hundred..."

Back in the austere hamlet of Franklin Lakes, a bug was zipping around and pestering two young girls. "Mom, stop it!" Garbanzo's daughters moaned, satisfied finally when their mother alit on a bed and began gabbing to them about boys. See what happened was this: G's little boytoy, Stilwell Angel, was actin' all kindsa shifty. See he's a very young 38, and Garbanzo is in her late 70s, so it just wasn't really going to work. Also, Stilwell Angel was jeeping on her with another laday. He called Teresa, being an associate of her husband's, and asked if he and this galpal could use T's Jersey shore house. Teresa wondered about Garbs, but not too much, and basically said OK. In the background, Dina smiled wickedly. Anyway, G knew somethin' was up so she took Stilwell out to lunch and, after affixing his bib and cutting up his hotdog for him, it was time to end the relationship. Just because, you know, they were going different places. She was going toward stability and a new chance at love and the tumble of years that would be her two pretty daughters growing up very fast. And he was going towards the Jersey Shore with his friend Lisa in like an hour so could we hurry this up maybe? Eyebrows telling no secrets or lies, Dina smiled sadly and helped him back into his PowerWheels and watched, hand shielding her eyes from the sun, as he puttered off down the road and disappeared. She heaved a buggy sigh. How things go sometimes, huh?

Back on the bed with the two girls, G decided to break the news that the affair had ended. The girls seemed unfazed, in a war-weary way. G promised that Stilwell wouldn't be like the other men, that he'd come around and say hi to the goils and whatnot. They didn't believe it. He'd be just like... oh we shouldn't say his name. Garbanzo didn't want to say his name. But then like a chickadee chirping quietly out of winter, while the snow melts, the littlest G said "Like Jay." Yes, like Jay, everyone agreed. The mysterious Jay. Who was he, I wondered. This Jay. I'm sure we'll figure it out, eventually.

When all had been packed up and purchased, villas paid and maids untipped, the ladies left beautiful A.C. for ruined, desolate F.L. Back at home, Teresa had very important things to consider. All of the girls had been telling her to get boobages. Because it would make her life happier, because it would complete the package, because if you don't partially announce the rest of yourself when turning into a room, you could be attacked by a paranoid husband. It's very possible. And also because why not, you're bored and rich and your marble palace has already been erected and sometimes, when Albergo and Lunedi and Cimabue are asleep, the place is just awfully quiet. Too quiet. Bubbies would help that. Bubbies would be friends. They practically talk.

The only person who was a bit against this was Dina. Dina got enormous breasticles because her husband, genetically different from T's, is a chest man. So Dina hates them but it makes her husband happy, so what can you do? You can't play tennis, that's for sure. Dina insisted that Teresa didn't want huuuge ones and Teresa agreed, because there is, to quote Dina, a line between tasteful and tacky. The idea that any of these women have any perception of what either tastelessness or tackiness are makes me chuckle with sad, drunken laughter—a sound like a platypus burping, or calling out for help while having a nightmare. A terrible platypus nightmare.

Of course the most important person to discuss this with was her husband. And her three small children. Setting a good example of how girls should be—and let's face it, Teresa has already done such a bang up job, wasn't watching little actress child Camorra primp and preen at the dinner table like all those girls you hated in high school and college except she's like six just so heartening?—she decided to discuss the matter at the family's favorite Italian restaurant, Quiznos. She told the girls to cover their ears and then yelled "Boobs! I want boobs!" and her husband just chuckled awkwardly and stared at a small red stain on his pants. Fuck... Gotta burn these, he thought.

So with his blessing Teresa trotted off to the boob clinic with her friends in tow. They all guffawed and whinnied at the smarmy doctor and very important medical matters were discussed. Would they feel like bags of sand? Do they fall off or get scared during thunderstorms? Can they see into the future? The doctor chuckled and smiled. "Yes!" he exclaimed. "Of course! They do all those things. And more." After the girls watched a grainy educational film about how one's new bubbies can also solve mysteries and govern small island nations and recite Pi to a hundred places, Teresa was prepped and ferried off to get the insertions. A funny moment happened when she was drugged and the nurse tried to have her count backwards from three. From three. But old T.T. couldn't do it. Because she can only count upwards, in increments of a hundred. So instead she mumbled something about her friend sending her a text message and then she whispered, strangely and ominously, "Fidelio..." and then she was out. Out cold. Like an oranging pimento loaf, sitting in some forgotten, dusty deli counter in Edison.

After a long recovery, Teresa finally awoke and asked what size she was. A healthy C. Just like she'd sorta wanted. Her husband shuffled in and said "Oh, you got somethin' there now" and Teresa smiled and maybe slowly started to realize that this was all terribly silly. Had she been kidding when she said, as means to "preplay" (she meant foreplay), that she was considering putting a stripper pole in the bedroom? She didn't even know anymore. But now that she had these things—these inert puppies, these sacks of chemical, these blimpy over-leavend kaiser rolls—stuffed into her body, she might have to start acting some part. Would she need to sleep with sweaty, stenchy teenage boy gardeners? Would she need to lean over and purr at Parent/Teacher conferences, trying to secure good grades (and a bright, bright future!) for little Lazio? She suspected she might.

Speaking of good grades! Sad deerbaby Jacqueline decided it was time to be tough and really crack walnuts and ask her aging daughter Britannica about her summer school grades. She and the child were already on rocky terms, because of a disastrous photoshoot. See, like any wayward teenage girl who's suddenly thrust in front of television cameras and told to be interesting and charming and most importantly pretty, young Britannica has decided she's pretty curious about modeling and acting. Many young people are curious, even covetous, about such things, but because Bravo's there, sifting through the sausage-stained wreckage of her life, she now has agency to misguidedly pursue a career in the self-centered arts. So Jacqui took her on a bigtime modeling photoshoot. The photographer had one time photographed one of the America's Next Top Model girls and if that doesn't spell success, it at least spells suces. Moored there against a gray backdrop, listlessly banging into it and being startled by a fan, the poor dear didn't seem exactly a natural. And when she saw the prints! Oh how she mooped and moaned. She just didn't like them. The photographer smiled piteously. Because he knew that when Brit sat there at the bank of monitors and gazed longingly, disappointedly, at what she saw... Well, he knew that she was really, fundamentally, unhappy with something more bedrock and immovable. And she knew it too. And everyone knew it. But we all just pretended. The next photoshoot! That one will be better. The future will always be better.

Anyway, Jacqui still demanded to see the grades and, lo and behold, they were actually good. She even got extra credit on one test! So Jacqui smiled and barked a happy bark and little Brit said "Now can I have a car...?" And even though, yes, there was already a car waiting for her in a warehouse, Jacqui played it cool for the first time in her life and said "Well, this certainly helps your cause." And you could see that glimmer of satisfaction dance across her face. How strangely fun and empowering it was to be an adult sometimes! How nice it was to feel traction under her feet. Sadly her moment of triumph was ruined when, nearby outside, a car backfired and poor Jacqui widdled on the floor and then ran behind her hiding chair and cowered and shivered. The world was still a scary and menacing place sometimes. Brittanica just stared at the yellow puddle and blinked slowly. A model, she thought. A real life model.

After the noises monsters had definitely moved on and she'd stopped shaking so much, Jacqueline bravely put on her best hat and set out for Garbanzo. You see it was G's 78th birthday, and a dinner was in order. When they sat down, G's eyebrows told no stories, no memories, but still old matters had to be addressed. The book. The crook book. The crooked little book that Dina (allegedly! but I don't care! I love her! like I really, really like her and her weirdo daughter! sue me!) passed around town to ruin G's life. Jacqui, remembering that soaring grownup moment in the kitchen, held firm. "I can't hear about that stuff. You know, it's family. It just isn't right." Garbanzo seemed frustrated, flattened. A fairweather friend, Jacqui was. But a friend, at least. Here's something. So she smiled and said "Fair enough." And they toasted and drank wine and dinner was dinner. An evening was an evening. Just one out of many, one in a year. A birthday, like any other day.

When Garby got home that night she stood in the kitchen for a spell, drinking a final glass of wine, admiring the wooden elephant (they never forget...) that her daughter had made for her birthday. It was a good life sometimes, she thought. Even if it wasn't always full. Even if her dangerously pretty and growing-up older daughter thought that men only wanted her "goodies", even if she wanted something different, sex-wise, for her girls, wanted it fiercely, but was nonetheless powerless to stop it. And then there it came again. That name. That name that turned over and over in her head like balls at a bingo parlor. Like the lottery machines on TV. Jay. Suddenly it just ran up, pushed its way through her lips, desperate to taste some fresh air. "Jay." She said it out loud. That person. That man.

They'd met on vacation. The girls back home with a babysitter. Garbs had found a little extra money here and there and bought herself a ticket, first class, to Mexico. She spent the first quiet days walking up and down the beach, thinking about times she'd been there before, during that cokey carnival that some folks called the 80s. It had looked different back then. Both bigger and smaller. Now it was just... Just a beach. Just beautiful sand stretching to hug beautiful water. And then, one sunset-streaked evening, there he'd been. Suddenly there. In his billowing white twill shirt, barefoot, simple khaki shorts. He'd been a charmer, talking her up, walking her back to the outdoor bar. They sat and drank stingingly sour drinks. He taught her little Mexican words like "cerveza" and "siesta" and she'd played along, acted like she didn't know what they meant even though she did. Pablo had taught her Spanish one dreary October in Bogota. But it was fun to play the game, so she did. And they chatted and drank and ate very little and made love under a canopy and Danielle could feel her whole world reopening. How shuttered she'd been! How skittish and scared! But no more. Past was past, done was done. Here was something. Here was something new.

Before they went back, before New Jersey climbed in and poisoned it like some cursed vine, they'd spent four more days down in Mexico. Feeling the sand between their toes, talking about nothing and everything, sharing sunny, wistful hopes for the way things could be. On the last night, at dinner, he'd reached his hand across the table and grabbed hers. He'd smiled, differently. This was a new one. There's still so much to learn, Danielle thought. "I want you to meet someone," he said softly. "OK," she said. "I'll meet anyone."

He led her to one of the private villas the hotel kept a bit down the beach. There was soft music wafting out from the inside, Huey Lewis maybe. Jay knocked on the door and, after a bit, Danielle heard a gruff, smoky voice say "Just a minute. Just a damn minute." Danielle suddenly felt knotted and nervous. Who was this scary-sounding person—scary in an old, familiar way. Finally, the door creaked open and standing there, all brown and dappled, grizzled and glorious, was a woman, about Danielle's age.

"Danielle," Jay grinned. "This is my sister. I'd like you to meet my sister."

The woman raised an eyebrow. She lit a cigarette. She chuckled.

"Nice to meet ya. The name's LuAnn."

Danielle shook her hand. "Nice to meet you too."

"Well?" LuAnn barked, clapping her hands. "We drinkin' or what?"

And so they did.