Author’s note:
All names are MADE UP. Some locations (such as San Fransisco or Chicago) are real, but only because they are well-known cities. Others are MADE UP. Juliet Whisper and the authors are of my creation, but some of the fandom references are not. Most of the sites used (FanClan, RpArmy) are also MADE UP. The accounts of people on this site are also MADE UP. Thank you.
The stylist led me into the main area of the salon about three minutes after Mom and I arrived. It was a pretty neat place from what I gathered in my time waiting. Kiosks stocked with naturally derived hair products populated the lobby, accompanied by walls clad with posters of flowing hair in variating vibrant shades. The waiting chairs were comfy, too, so that was a huge plus.
The lady’s name was Lindsay. She had boistrous blue curls shaved close to her head on one side and a visible nose piercing decorating the side of her nostril. It looked awesome.
I sat down in the chair of her station and she draped a salon cape around my shoulders. “Just to clarify,” she said, “tell me exactly what you wanted again.”
“I need fifteen inches off,” I repeated.
Lindsay gathered my long hair into a ponytail with her hands. “And you’re donating this, right?”
“Is that the only reason you’re cutting it?”
“Nope.” I grinned.
She laughed. Her mouth glistened with dark gloss. “I remember my first donation. My hair just made the cut and I was left with a scraggly head of short hair. I ended up shaving the sides.”
“How did it look?” I asked.
Lindsay smiled, “Awesome.”
About an hour later I walked back into the lobby with four ponytails of my blonde hair in a bag. Mom got all teary-eyed and stroked my hair, which now came down to about five inches below my shoulders, saying over and over again how grown-up I looked.
When we got home she demanded to take a picture of my hair so my relatives could see it. I combatted her demand by demanding that I should be the one to take it. After a quick bout of mother-daughter back-and-forths, I was the one to snap the picture and she was allowed to customize the message.
I went up to my room to change. If life has taught me one thing, it’s that getting everything done at the start of the day is awesome.
1. First, you get to change into whatever clothes you want for the rest of the day. Personally, that’s a large advantage, because the majority of my clothes are very comfortable but too pajama-like to wear outside of the house. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy wearing pajamas to the store. I would definitely do that if I didn’t have the supreme vetoing power of the mom preventing me.
2. Obviously, you can do whatever you want. Browse online for upcoming comic conventions? Check. Update your webcomic? Check. Work on that writing contest entry you’ve been procrastinating about for a week? Check. (And yes, all of those apply to me.)
3. You have leverage. If anyone springs something unexpected on you (like a forgotten prescription pick-up at Walgreens) you have a bit more power than usual. You can argue with said advocate of unplanned business that you had already done all you were supposed to up until now in hopes of having a day to yourself. In best-case scenarios you can stay home by yourself for a couple of hours, which buys you some more time to yourself.
Since I had already done all I was supposed to for the day, I had all three advantages. I threw off my clothes, which included the following: a 1977 Led Zeppelin shirt, ripped jeans rolled up to about my midcalf, striped knee socks, and Converse. I emerged from my closet a few minutes later wearing a baggy Beatles shirt, yoga pants, and some thoroughly amusing slippers.
Mom was downstairs in the den, browsing channels on the television. From one day in the Mulloy household anyone could deduce that couch potato-ness is hereditary and sometimes even infectious.
My mother can sit through hours of television, or her “husband”—my parents divorced soon after I was born, so that’s what Mom calls our TV. Just give her the proper tools. Just as hikers carry the necessities with them, Mom’s bouts of television-watching require certain supplies.
1. Refreshments. Gotta stay hydrated, laziness can be really exhausting.
2. Food. For same reasons as above.
3. Blankets, pillows, etc. Comfort is key to being lazy. How else can you stay in the same position for hours on end?
4. Books. Just because.
5. A phone or any other communication device to contact your daughter if any of your supplies run out.
Despite this well-discussed lethargic behavior, Mom used to be quite the athlete in her day. She was the star player on her high school lacrosse team (I don’t know much about lacrosse, so don’t expect me to go into detail). You can still find her in one of her old yearbooks, grinning with her team, brown hair swept up into a sloppy bun, red knees glowing in the weird yearbook photo glaze.
I dabble in athletics myself, having just signed up for the cross country team. Sure, I heard the training is living heck, and I’m not the fastest runner, but Mom bugged me to do something athletic for a change in addition to theater (which I both love and have been getting better at lately). None of the other sports are really my style.
Volleyball: I went to my friend Aaron’s volleyball practices a couple of times. The coach let me practice with the team even though I was the only girl there. I did surprisingly well until we did some scrimmaging. Long story short, all my serves went completely out of whack and I couldn’t even catch up to the ball. Personally I think I saved my would-be team by deciding not to take it up.
Baseball: Baseball’s always been a favorite of mine. I grew up watching the Red Sox play on TV and fell in love with them. David Ortiz became my long-time childhood hero. I played little league during that time even though I was the only girl on the team. Trying again at fifteen, I found that most of my skill had zipped down the drain. Plus, my school’s team was strictly for boys (the feminist I am, I wrote a very long and demanding letter to the school board about the outrage and never received a response.)
Soccer: I’m horrible at it. Practice never makes my soccer skills perfect.
Football: Never really got the game. Plus, I still resent it for the fact that it ursurped baseball’s title as America’s favorite sport.
Basketball: I lack all of the skills it takes to even be remotely good at basketball. Don’t ask me how or why.
Lacrosse: Mom tried to teach me some of it, but I never really got interested. Now I can’t remember a shred of the rules and I doubt I’ll be willing to try and recall them.
That left cross country, a sport that required no skill. It was perfect for me.
“Hey, Panda,” called Mom from the couch, “what’s the game plan from now on?”
“Well, I’m making some canned ravioli,” I replied. “I’ll probably be on the computer the rest of the day. What about you?”
“I’ll be resting. My stupid back is acting up again.”
“Aw. Olive juice.”
“Olive juice.”
I’d invented that term when I was little, realizing that “I love you” sounded a lot like “olive juice.” It stuck.
“One more thing, honey?”
I paused, “Yeah?”
“Are you wearing your Homer Simpson slippers again?”
“Yes,” I declared proudly, glancing down at my feet. Mom sighed, “You are definitely my daughter.”
I smiled, getting a bowl out and scooping the ravioli into it. Back in my room, I flopped onto my bed and retrieved my computer. It was a PC I got for Christmas two years ago and it still ran well, apart from it’s crappy charge. It had to be plugged in consistently or else the power would drain in under five minutes.
The first thing I did was log into my FanClan account and check my activity stream.
•Mor_i_Ette is now following you [follow?]
•Mor_i_Ette liked your photos Juliet whisper cosplay (2013, APE San Fransisco!) and Book signing w/ Hannah Coreman & Lisa Call, C2E2 Apr 26!
•r2256 is now following you [follow?]
•f33ling-g00d is now following you [follow?]
•Octagon_Octopus is now following you [follow?]
•Octagon_Octopus reposted your fanfiction Juliet and the Puppet Theater
•Octagon_Octopus liked your fanfiction Juliet and the Puppet Theater
•Octagon_Octopus left a comment on your fanfiction Juliet and the Puppet Theater: that was cool, I love Juliet Whisper... [click to view more]
For those of you who didn’t know, Juliet Whisper was a webcomic created by college students Hannah Coreman and Lisa Call. It follows the adventures of Juliet Whisper, a girl who discovers an alternate version of her new town by climbing through her bedroom window. The webcomic was launched in April of 2006 but only got popular about three years later. I’m not just talking bookstore-popular, I’m talking SUPER popular. Harry Potter-level popular. More than that, even. Suddenly the webcomic was being sorted into volumes and published in print in over 57 languages. Just typing in “J” into Google made “Juliet Whisper” come up as the first search result.
I was one of the original Juliettes (the fan name was established in 2008 by Lisa, nearly a year before the huge worldwide JW craze) and am very proud to be one.
As for Hannah and Lisa, they can be found at every huge Comic Convention in the U.S., as well as some in Canada and the U.K.. They got married in 2011 both at age 24 and now live in Oregon with nine dogs, still cranking out a new page of Juliet Whisper four times a week with annual two-week breaks. Lisa was always the writer/editor and Hannah was always the artist, though sometimes they mix roles to keep the comic interesting.
Next I opened up my RpArmy account and checked the status of my open roleplays. My Psychically and Supernaturally Gifted roleplays had gotten nine sign-ups already...I decided to change the signup status to closed. Generally I preferred smaller RPs, it’s easier to keep track of and harder for people to get left out. I did have one exception, though, and that was my Juliet Whisper RP. I started it before 90% of the world became Juliettes, and only my online friends who I recommended the comic to joined. Once more and more people took interest in the fandom, they started flocking to it. I had always meant to close sign-ups sooner, but everyone wanted to get in on the action. I ended up setting the sign-up status to closed a whole five weeks later than I’d anticipated, and now 69 people had joined.
Speaking of which, I checked the status. Aida-Boria had posted a reply. I read what she had added.
I watched Juliet disappear into the gift shop. Seeing Mary again, I supposed. Humph!
I dragged an empty crate out from the alley and pushed it up against the wall. If I stood on it I could just see into the shop.
There was Juliet, smiling breathlessly. Her long black hair was combed and clipped back in multiple places, and she was wearing her red plaid skirt.
And then there was Mary. Working behind the counter, long fingers reaching for a jar on the shelf behind her. I smiled at how blue her eyes looked.
They exchanged a few words and Mary undid the tie on her apron, hanging up on a hook by the shelves. They walked out of the shop hand in hand.
I panicked, worrying they would see me. I shoved the crate back into the darkness of the alley before crawling there myself to hide in the shadows. They walked out into the street, laughing. My face steamed with jealousy. How could Mary choose that worthless world-jumper who discovered us by chance?
How could she, a native of this world, not choose me, a shadow-elf girl, but a native, no less. Steeping in anger, I crept as far back into the alley as I could until even the magical glow of my eyes could not be seen in the darkness.
Aida-Boria always wrote the most detailed replies. I appreciated much of her writing, especially because Korin is such a hard character to portray. I decided to write a response of my own.
I walked into the gift shop, the little bell on the door jingling as I opened it. Mary was working behind the counter. Her orange bob was trimmed and shone in the light.
“Hey, Juliet!” she beamed. I couldn’t help but smile. “Hi, Mary...”
She looked at me, expecting me to finish.
“I was wondering...if you wanted to, um, have lunch?”
“Sure,” there was that smile again. Mary hung her apron up. “Nobody comes here anyways. It’s just for appearances. Plus, the other Mary...”
“I know,” I sucked in a lot of air. I tried to avoid mentioning the other Mary as much as possible, as it made her uncomfortable. Especially because of what she’d done...
“Let’s go!” she said. I smiled, walking out the door with her.
I posted it and opened up my favorite tab: the actual webcomic. It was Friday, so the next page should have been posted...
I looked at it, shaking my head. My mouth hung open, my eyes widened. I let out a frustrated groan.
Juliet Whisper was on a thoroughly annoying, thoroughly unplanned, thoroughly long hiatus.
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