Lip Service

by Emily McPhillips

I carried Molly Dugan over a muddy field. Alan Bates (not the actor) carried her through high school (this he claims). Patricia McNamee carried a baby daughter whom she called Molly, after Molly; this was sweet, and Molly is very much that.

She leaves the house even before her hair is dry, even when she wears silks, and on such a fabric the wet marks are even more noticeable. She doesn’t live in a hot country – so the marks can sometimes stay for maybe up to as long as an hour (an untrained eye might suggest it could be tie-dye). She dresses shop windows for a living. The theatrics of mannequin behaviour being her niche – Selfridges adore her.

We met firstly on a Geography field trip, in our first year at Staffs Uni – 1994. I carried her across a muddy field because she’d lost her cloggs when running from a cow herd. It was ridiculous that she was studying Geography. She failed her first year and never came back. I missed the sound of Suede coming from her earphones in our shared seminars. Molly’s presence in the Geography undergrad programme was like finding paper money in an old coat.

I stuck the ladle in the punch-bowl in the place where I next met Molly. God knows what was in the punch but vodka. Vodka overpowers everything else because it’s poured like water and treated like soda pop. I gargled it with finger-food. The room was red and gold. It was Christmas. The vibe was network network! The fashion was demure but hot. I was introduced to people by my new boss, we’re from a media-type company (not exactly fresh but making ground) – I sell elements of the future, and if you don’t believe me then good for you. I shook hands and kissed and paid lip-service to the ideas of my generation until I saw Molly Dugan and split.

Molly laced meshy gold fabric through giant chandeliers with big swooping masses of foam mistletoe hanging from them. Her hair wasn’t wet, but tied back in a neat bun. She looked oriental but more gothy. She looked good. I held the ladder for her. She looked down, smiled, didn’t recognise me, asked me my name, I gave her my name, and then she kissed me, and told me that mistletoe had a brilliant nature of bringing people back together again – she said: ‘I’m glad you’re Jack Mantani. I like Jack Mantani.’ And I like Molly Dugan. Especially when we kiss.

Emily McPhillips was born in 1985. She blogs at:

  1. #1 by DJ remixes on September 12, 2011 - 4:01 am

    Very satisfied with this piece, write some more.

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