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Juice Pips by Gay Degani | flash fiction | #thesideshow

Gay Degani

The illegitimate children of O.J. Simpson arrive at Nica’s modest bungalow on Saturday evening for cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres.  She decided to put on this reunion of sorts when she realized that even Kris Jenner couldn’t resist the handsome, but deadly footballer. She tweeted “Is OJ Simpson Your Dad? #ojkids #juicepips #spermsquirts,” inviting all would-be, could-be potential progeny to the soiree.  She doubts if Khloe will show, but she’s always been the girl who stands on tiptoes, clutching her chest, hope in her heart.

As hostess, Nica dresses in an original Christian Siriano cocktail number – bold aqua leaves on a black ground – that she bought on eBay, spending more than a week’s salary, but after all, she had to dress the part of a pre-celebrity child of the most famous criminal of the late 20th century, maybe even the 21st.

She tells her guests she doesn’t always believe what she reads online or in the newspaper, but she herself, as one of the forty-three whose beautiful mothers whispered about their paternal kinship to the Juice, she knows what she knows.

“You’re beautiful,” she says warmly to each half-sibling.  Of course, she knows she’s beautiful too. How many times has she been told, mixed-race children are beautiful.

They crowd into her living room, her dining room, her indoor-outdoor back patio and chat about when and where and how their mothers met OJ.  Most are not from celebrity maternal stock, but Nica can see each of her guests exudes something special, glittery, and noble.  She can’t help glancing toward her open front door, telling herself there’s still time for former Mrs. Odom (or current Mrs. Odom depending on which Twitter feed Nica reads) to glide in and join the throng.

Nica chats with a blond man with strong cheekbones, feels an tingle of attraction when he smiles his OJ smile, but reminds herself that even in these flexible times, he is forbidden fruit.  He could, of course, be a pretender with a lying, deceitful mother, but never mind.

She moves on to a striking woman, tall and athletic, and asks about her maternal relationship, “mothers” being the most popular topic of conversation after discussing the knife, the Bronco, and the ill-fitting glove.

The woman informs Nica, “My mom worked at the Gap in Santa Monica right there on Wilshire and 26th.  OJ came in one day for a pair of Levis and my mom rattled off his waist and length, without the benefit of a tape measure.  He was charmed.”

“I love this story!” says Nica.  “My mother met him at Dupar’s in the Valley.”

“My mom was a Buffalo Jill,” says the man behind her, shifting around to join their circle.

“Mine was an SC cheerleader,” says another man, this one a little shorter than most.

Then everyone chimes in with “Radio City Music Hall,”

“Thom McAn’s Shoes,” “Mine was Cinderella at Disneyland,” “Parent-teacher meeting,” “His shrink,” “His shrink’s secretary,” “His agent,” “His agent’s personal assistant,” and soon everyone has met everyone else and shares how found out about O.J.

Nica knows how the star athlete met Khloe’s mom, the now famous Kris, who at the time was married to Robert Kardashian, family friend and future defense attorney for Simpson’s 1995 murder trial.

And what if Khloe does show up? Nica’s heart quivers. She should’ve called TMZ or Perez Hilton. Started a buzz.

Too late now.  She sighs, eyes damp. She failed.

Still…

She’s surrounded with laugher, chatter, all these beautiful scions. This event feels gossip-worthy even without the statuesque TV celebrity. Nica will do it again next year, call up “Ellen.”  Have her put them on her show.  She can see OJ’s brood linking arms, cameras coming in for close ups. Oh! They could visit him in prison, arrive in limos, climb out in designer dresses.  She’ll ask Ellen’s producer to put down a red carpet.  She can see it: several white stretches drawing up to the dark foreboding prison with its razor wire fence glinting in the setting sun…

Slowly Nica realizes how quiet her overcrowded little house has become. She shakes off her daydream and as the party guests shift out of her way, she sees, sweeping through the open front door, Khloe.


About the Author:

Gay Degani is the author of a full-length collection of short stories, Rattle of Want, (Pure Slush Press, 2015) and a suspense novel, What Came Before (Truth Serum Press, 2016). She’s had four flash pieces nominated for Pushcart consideration and won the 11th Glass Woman Prize. She blogs at Words in Place.