I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What's a Girl To Do by Sparkle Hayter


Robin Hudson's life has been in a downward spiral lately.  Her upwardly mobile career at the CNNish network ANN, that was started by Georgia Jack Johnson (Think Ted Turner) in New York City, went into a tailspin when called upon to ask her first question at a While House briefing she belches and then another faux pas on a story where she alluded to cannibalism got her a one way ticket to Special Reports where they do tabloid-like stories and her boss is the sleazy Jerry Spurdle.  On top of that, her husband Burke has left her for a younger woman, Amy Penny, that she works with and has to see every day.  Burke is a reporter for a local station.

Robin is used to mysterious phone calls as she has odd fans, but this one alludes to knowing things from her past and wants to meet her at the ANN New Year's Eve Ball if she wants to know what else he has on her.  So Robin loads up her pocket book with the usual weapons of her perfume bottle filled with cayenne pepper and her Epilady (she has booby trapped her apartment including using poison ivy at the windows to help identify or at least irritate thieves).  At the party, a man comes up to her and hands her an envelope that has a page with blacked out sections on it and a note to meet him at 11pm in one of the hotel's rooms.  While she's at the party she aggravates her ex and flirts with the handsome Eric who works in production for one of the shows.  When she goes up to the room no one answers the door and it is silent so she leaves.  The next day she is brought down to the police department for questioning in the man's murder.  However, the guy was a P.I. who made a lot of enemies and was blackmailing some people who weren't Robin, means she is quickly cleared as a suspect, but that only peaks her interest in solving the murder.

But Jerry has her busy doing actual work for Special Reports. Mainly a show on sperm being switched at a shoddy sperm bank and couples ending up with mixed race babies that clearly are not wholly their own.  Jerry, of course, wants to go undercover with Robin as a couple to the sperm bank and finagle a tour of the place and get on hidden camera all the goods. Claire the other part of the team who does the research and production is close friends with Robin, even though Claire is likely moving on to a better job soon.

And of course there's also Eric who is not only flirting back with Robin but trying to go out with her, but it's been such a long time since she's been on the dating scene she doesn't know what she's doing and she's scared of him being a playboy or of trusting him.  After all, someone in the office is being blackmailed by the P.I. and likely killed him and won't hesitate to kill again, especially if Robin, wise-cracking amateur gumshoe, gets too close to the truth.

Quotes:
 Two calls from Elroy, one of my “special fans,” who sees me as his dominatrix and gets off by calling or writing me to describe the many ways he wants me to punish him.  This time he wanted me to spank his bare bottom with a razor strap and then glue his eyelids shut with Krazy Glue. And they say romance is dead.

-Sparkle Hayter (What’s a Girl To Do p 41)


The thing is, I still sort of believed in love. I was kind of agnostic about love, actually, but I hadn’t lost all hope completely. I was waiting for the feminist wet dream, Spencer Tracy. And while I was waiting, great looks and a great bod could tide me over nicely.
-Sparkle Hayter (What’s a Girl To Do p 70)
 If you want to debunk one conspiracy theory, give ‘em another.

-Sparkle Hayter (What’s a Girl To Do p 115)


In fact, I am a slob. I admit it. It’s not that I’m a lazy person. I tend to workaholism and when I do clean, I clean compulsively, unable to stop until the place is completely spotless. But housework just seems so insignificant and, as men have always known, there’s always something better to do.  I haven’t read Moby Dick yet. I haven’t seen Fellini’s Satyricon.  There are dozens of countries in the world about which I know nothing and billions of people I haven’t yet met.
-Sparkle Hayter (What’s a Girl To Do p 139)
 There is Murphy’s Law and there are Robin’s Amendments. Number one. The guy with the biggest tub of popcorn and nosiest eating habits will always sit directly behind me in a movie theater (or else a hearing-impaired foreign national with his translator, so that every line of on-screen dialogue is repeated in loud German). Number two. The amount a man adores me is roughly equal to the number of his faults.  Number three. When I’m already running late, something will inevitably happen to make me even later.

-Sparkle Hayter (What’s a Girl To Do p 145-6)


A girlfriend and I discussed this once, how a touch of pathos, a hint of haggard, makes a man more attractive to a woman.  When courting hesitant females, the males of other species cinch the biological deal by puffing up their brightly colored plumage. All our men have to do is not shave for a day and stint themselves on sleep.
-Sparkle Hayter (What’s a Girl To Do p 148)
 Yeah, too bad there aren’t really witches. Too many televangelists in the world, not enough frogs. One twitch of Samantha’s nose could fix that little imbalance.

-Sparkle Hayter (What’s a Girl To Do p 173)


Burke, after surveying my umbrella, my poison ivy, and my spray colon spiked with cayenne pepper, once asked me if there was anything that couldn’t be a weapon if it fell into my hands. The only thing I could think of was Jell-O. “To you the world is just full of weapons, isn’t it?” he said. Yep, and the world is just full of reasons to use them, I thought now, as I left the store, prepared in my heart to bludgeon a man to death with a coffee can if necessary.
-Sparkle Hayter (What’s a Girl To Do p 200)
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