With her wild mane of hair and pale skin, Debbie is a haunting image of
devil-may-care beauty. And the ease with which she takes charge of her
surroundings - whether at her mama's house or in her own living room - adds
to her commanding presence. When asked about this presence, Debbie humbly
casts it aside, "Oh, well, I like to get a little lit now and then. Not
sure if you'd call that 'commanding' or 'demanding,' but I'm loud as hell, and I get what I want, that's for goddamn sure."
Chip ("He did not give a shit," says Debbie) deferred decisions about the decor to
Debbie and her sister Lanny, who used to do the window displays down at
the Woolworths over on Broad Street. "Debbie likes the weirdest stuff,"
Lanny says. "And she doesn't listen. She wants to have crazy junk
everywhere. She's wild, just real wild."
"If she's wild, she'd better get tamed - and fast. That boy's real nice,
maybe too nice, if you catch my meaning." George Schmidt pulls on the
collar of his dress shirt. "Hard-workin' boy. Once saw that boy put up
sheetrock for 12 hours straight. Didn't eat, didn't have a smoke, didn't
sit down once. Sheetrock's hard work, too. I'll tell you what, I do it for
two hours, my arms get to achin' so bad, I can't do it no more. If it's true
he's up and left Debbie, you can't rightly blame the poor boy. Probably
rather put up sheetrock for the rest of his life than come home to that
old mule. She's my girl, and I love her, but she sure is hell to live with -
don't I know it. Strangest shit in that place of hers, too. Can't blame him
for not comin' home."
"He'd better not come home now, not unless he wants a hole in his head
the size of Texas." Debbie waves her Virginia Slims Ultra-Thin Menthol
toward a shotgun resting in an umbrella stand shaped like an open-mouthed
freshwater bass to the right of the front door. "That son of a bitch so
much as knocks on the door, he's one step away from a whole world of pain.
Hard workin' my ass. He'll be workin' hard to stay alive, boy."
As she talks about looking forward to blowing Chip's head clean off, she
reflects again on the significance of her name change. "I once made a
mistake on a check and signed 'Goss.' All of a sudden that name just looked
real ugly to me, and I thought, 'My kid's gonna be a Schmidt, too,
dammit.'" Her eyes fill with pride and wonder - or maybe it's the glassy-eyed result of
her third whiskey and Coke. "I'm gonna be a Schmidt, and my boy or girl or
whatever's gonna be a Goss? No fuckin' way!"
Next ... Meet Goth wonder Veronica Walsh in her split-level nightmare!