Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Gimme A Kiss

The sweetest words of love are often the deadliest….

Some secrets are worth dying for….

Gimme A Kiss
Christopher Pike
1988, 152 pages

I hope you enjoyed this gallery of Gimme A Kiss covers throughout the years. My copy is the first, old-school one. I got it circa 1995 at a used book shop that I call Dirty Steve's, because Steve, the owner, will rip you off if you're not paying attention. It cost $1.75. The middle cover is weird and I don't like it. The third one looks like a fantasy novel. Like the Dragonlance logo or something. What are your thoughts?

Jane Retton would never let anyone read her diary. After all, it was filled with her wildest secrets – the sort of things she wouldn’t even tell her closest friends.

Then something terrible happened.

Somehow her diary ended up at school. And soon, everyone was reading her final, shocking entry.

Some girls would simply die.

Other girls would kill.

But Jane Retton… she would do both….

Jane Retton – she’s gonna do both
Alice Palmer – friend of Jane & Sharon
Sharon Less – friend of Alice & Jane
Kirk Donner – Jane’s boyfriend, used to date Alice
Patty Brane – Head Cheerleader, biotch
Dr. Palmer – Alice’s fatty father, a dentist
Lt. Fisher – cop

Santa Barbara, California

Late 1980s

You know, Gimme A Kiss is difficult to recap. It’s actually funny, not even extremely dated (depending on where you live), and has a pretty crazy plot. So, I’m just gonna put it to you straight – exactly how Alice told me (and Lt. Fisher. He was there, too).

Sunday October 8 – 1 AM
Alice and Lt. Fisher are in interrogation. Alice’s father, local lardass (and dentist) Dr. Palmer, is being entertained in the snack bar so Fisher can have time to properly question Alice.

Kirk Donner, Alice’s ex-boyfriend and her friend Jane’s current boyfriend, has drowned during a school trip aboard a boat that Dr. Palmer had rented. It is believed that Jane drowned too, but her body hasn’t been found. A burned body in the woods hasn’t yet been identified. Sharon Less is missing.

Alice starts at the beginning, the morning of Friday October 6th:

Jane woke up early to help her parents pack for a camping trip. They take off, and she’s left waiting for her friends Alice and Sharon to pick her up for school. Normally, Jane drives herself, but her car is stalling all the time and she needs her next paycheck from her job as a receptionist/assistant at Dr. Palmer’s dental office to fix it.

To kill time, she writes in her diary. It’s not a cutesy, girly pink locking diary like I had. That would probably be because she’s 17, not 9. It’s a regular notebook with yellow covers. Jane’s latest experience to record in her diary is… what it was like to make love to Kirk Donner!

First, Jane re-reads her entry on the first time Kirk asked her out. It was a hot summer night. August 8, to be exact. At Haagen-Dazs, Jane has a crazy urge to order a banana split. She’s never had one and doesn’t even like bananas. The scooper shows Jane the one banana that the store has left. It’s HUGE and, hence, had been rejected from the Wilcox High health class condom demonstration. Kirk shows up at the counter wanting a banana split, too, please, pronto. The scooper is all: “yes, we have no bananas”, but Kirk has a plan. Make a giant split and they’ll “split” it. You know, two-spoon it.

Jane digs the macho thing of not even asking her if that’s cool, and doesn’t care that the scooper is just going along with it, like: “Yeah, yeah, strangers barge in on each other’s sundaes all the time”. Kirk and Jane sit down at the fountain and he asks her out for next Friday.

The current entry (vaginal, to be precise) starts off as usual. They go to the beach. They go back to Jane’s. Her parents are away. They go in the house; it’s pitch black. Jane reaches for him and says: “Gimme a kiss.”

Jane takes a break to reflect on the best way to write about something that didn’t even happen. WHAT?! NO SEX? Prepare yourself: the banana split incident is also a hoax. Wanna know what REALLY happened? Jane was there. Kirk was there. Kirk was too poor to pay for his shake, so Jane spotted him the cash. He felt obligated to sit with her in the food court – there’s not even a fuckin’ fountain! – and decided to take that opportunity to see if he could watch the ball game at her place. His TV broke and he had money on the game. From that moment on, it was love. Or like, boredom relief and lack of motive or opportunity to date someone else.

Suddenly, a backyard commotion interrupts Jane’s writing. A neighbourhood cat is attacking her pet bunny, Easter. Jane picks off the cat with a rock from her mother’s garden and re-cages Easter.

A moment later, Sharon busts into the house.. She’s got a punk-short hairstyle and looks like a really skinny guy. She says dumb and inappropriate things all the constant time. She kinda reminded me of Amanda Seyfried in Mean Girls, but not as all-around ditzy. Sharon lost her license for too many tickets and is often seen riding around on her ten-speed. Alice is removing scuba gear from the trunk to lend to Jane. Alice is an experienced diver, and introduced Jane to the activity. Now they both take part in scuba diving regularly.

Sharon’s gotta go to the can, so Jane says to use the one in her room. When Alice comes into the kitchen, Jane asks if Kirk coming on the boat trip tomorrow would bother her. Alice says it won’t, and tells her that she invited Jane’s nemesis, Patty Brane on the trip. Jane wrote an article for Wilcox High’s newspaper The Last Word that contained some opinions that offended, like, everyone in the sports world. She dissed the football team for not winning and having a shitty, predictable playbook. And commented on the cheerleaders having a hair and lipstick break, but that was only a joke. Patty took EXTREME offense and has been givin’ Jane shit ever since.

Alice is in a hurry to get to school. She has to tell all the invitees when the boat is leaving in the morning, so she goes to Jane’s room to hurry Sharon up in the can. Hey, Sharon! What the fuck are you doing in there? Ya fall in, or what? That never gets old. They come back downstairs, as Jane rushes up to grab her schoolbooks.

Once at school, Jane and Sharon walk to class. Jane mentions that she has to work in Dr. Palmer’s office after school. Sharon wants to know if that walrus makes her take prayer breaks or what. Sharon’s so funny. She talks about sex a lot, which makes her friends uncomfortable. She claims to have slept with 3 guys. College guys, you wouldn’t know them. Jane figures that Sharon is stalled at fondled breasts and the rest is bull. You know what, Jane? Just because you lie to yourself doesn’t mean everyone else is lying to you.

Jane runs off to talk to Kirk. Kirk is tall and has wide shoulders and you probably wouldn’t mess with him if you saw him. He drinks a lot and doesn’t need a fake ID. He’s not super handsome, but he’s all right. And he reads at a 5th grade level. Jane’s a bookaholic, so she was disappointed when she would try to share her favourites with Kirk, only to find that he didn’t understand the big words. Now she’s got him into Narnia, which is respectable enough, and he loves the “far-out looking lion”.

In homeroom, Jane and Patty have words. Patty makes a metaphor about eating a fish on the beach, but it really means she intends have sex with Kirk on the trip tomorrow. Jane responds that a fish knows when a place is polluted from everyone dumping their load there and stays out of those places. Niiiice! Advantage: Jane. Alice and Sharon show up at the door. Alice beckons Jane out of the room to rescue her from Patty, then goes in to remind everyone of the dawn departure for tomorrow’s trip. Sharon needs a history text, so Jane sends her in to get it from her school bag.

At lunchtime, Jane notices people laughing in her direction and acting like creeps. She looks for Alice and Sharon, but Patty Brane corners her first. Patty hands Jane a photocopy of her last diary entry. The one she was writing this very morning. The one that reads:

Dear Diary,
I’ve been very naughty. I’ve gone and done what no good girl should do. I’ve lost my virginity. And I know exactly where I lost it. But let me tell you, there’s no getting it back.

Jane starts to deny that she wrote it, but Patty Brane is too smart for that. She flaunts her Xerox-toner-stained fingers as she taunts Jane that if it’s not her diary, then she won’t care that there’s a certain yellow notebook sitting unattended in the homeroom class. Jane runs to collect it, then collapses at a desk, crying. Sharon and Alice show up eventually. Sharon’s giving Jane goofy advice, to which Alice responds: “Show some tact.”

Here is a bastardized version of the conversation that followed:

Sharon: “Say you made it up.”
Jane: “I did! I did make it up!”
Sharon: “Oh, for one of those men’s magazines?”
Alice: “Sharon, no talking for five minutes.”
Jane: “How’d my diary get to school any-frickin’-way? You were in my can for a long time!”
Sharon: “No!”
Alice: “Hey, I went up there too. I saw a notebook, but certainly never would have read it. You probably grabbed it when you were rushing to get out of there.”
Sharon: “Yeah, you had a yellow notebook with you in the car… or maybe that was Alice.”
Jane: “How’d you know it was yellow?!?!”
Alice: “When a notebook is lying open, you can still tell what colour the covers are.”
Jane: “Naw, I don’t fuckin’ think so!”
Alice: “Yeah. You can.”
Jane: “Well, Sharon said you might have had it!”
Alice: “I have my own. I have since the first day of school. Perhaps when I called you out of the room, Patty took it out of your bag.”
Jane: “How the hell did she even know it was in there? Wait! Sharon, you went through my shiz, didn’t you?!?!”
Sharon: “No! Quit makin’ accusations. That’s hurtful.”
Alice: “I’m sure Patty was looking for something to mess up and found your diary instead. What terrible luck!”
Jane: “Christ, my animal was gettin’ attacked. Maybe I just grabbed the books and… I gotta talk to Kirk!!!”

Jane comes off like a psychopath this entire book, and Alice seems like someone who bathes crazy people for a living and can respond calmly to anything.

Before Jane has a chance to look for Kirk, Mr. Pan, the guidance counselor, approaches the three girls, holding Jane’s diary page. “I’ve seen this,” he says. He enjoys that Jane is so at home with her sensuality. Sharon asks: “Did you do it at home?” Pan’s got stats: 53% of teenagers are sexually active. Pleasure is great, but there’s a risk involved: Teenage Pregnancy. He pulls two boxes of condoms from his desk drawer, saying: “I bought these myself.” This is creepy. The girls leave.

Jane confronts Kirk, who admits that Patty showed him a piece of paper and asked if it was Jane’s writing, because she thought it was a paper Jane had lost. He read it, but didn’t deny it because he didn’t want Jane to look like a liar. Plus, she had said “Gimme a kiss”. He remembered that part. Jane believes that Kirk wanted everyone to think that he scored with her, so she slaps him and bloodies his nose. Thinking of her revenge, Jane walks home from school.

That afternoon, Jane reports for work at Dr. Palmer’s office. He asks her to work in the file room, away from public view. A classmate had an appointment at lunch and told Dr. P. everything. Telling your dentist the high school gossip during a routine cleaning? God, that’s loser-like. As Jane sorts x-rays, she comes up with a list of methods for obtaining revenge for her humiliation:

1. Kill P(atty) and K(irk)
2. Cripple K
3. Disfigure P
4. Infect P and K with incurable disease
5. Disgrace P and K

She narrows down the list and settles on disgracing them. And comes up with an evil genius plan to do so!

Dr. P. wants to speak to Jane privately. He was considering firing her, but her work is good and patients like her, so he will allow her to keep her job. But it’s important that she understands that if his daughter Alice ever has sex “her punishment would be of the sort she wouldn’t soon forget”. He instructs Jane to respect her body and avoid carnal desire. Mmkay, boss.

Jane sets her plan in motion by asking if Kirk can attend the boat trip tomorrow so Dr. P. can tell him these very important lessons, too. Dr. P. knows Kirk from when he used to date Alice. Kirk is low class and should be avoided by any means necessary… but he may attend the trip in exchange for an abstinence lecture. Heehee, that is evil, Jane!

After Jane returns to her filing, Sharon shows up. Jane reveals that she is going to make Patty and Kirk kill her and enlists Sharon's help for the plan.

Interrogation room, 2:12 AM
Fisher prods Alice to admit that she did read Jane’s diary in her bedroom that morning. She glanced at the open page and felt so embarrassed for Jane that she closed the notebook and placed it on top of her pile of schoolbooks. Alice tells Fisher about Jane’s plan for revenge. Friday night after finishing her shift, she went into town and rented some scuba gear. She broke into the marina and attached the tank, facemask, suit, etc all to the side of the boat. She plans to start an altercation with Patty and Kirk, and get herself pushed overboard. She then will stay hidden under the water using the scuba gear she’s stashed, and swim to shore. Sharon’s family has a cabin in the woods, which Jane has arranged to use for the weekend. With her own parents out of town, she can hide out until Monday morning, when she’ll return to school like nothing happened. In the meantime, Kirk and Patty will be branded murderers, or in the very least, manslaughterers and will suffer horribly all weekend long.

Another cop calls Fisher out of the room momentarily. When he returns, he tells Alice that, based on dental records, the body found burned in the hills has been identified as Jane Retton.

Alice continues her story. Sharon had an important role in Jane’s plan. She had to lure Kirk and Patty to Jane to put her plan in motion, and after Jane disappeared, she was to tell Alice the truth so Alice wouldn’t be upset.

Jane sits alone in the bow of the boat, until she gives Sharon her cue. They make a plan to meet at Sharon’s cabin that evening. Sharon tells Kirk that Jane would like to speak to him, and then tells Patty the same thing. A moment after Kirk arrives, Patty shows up making a crack about Jane looking for sperm whales. I’m serious, some of this stuff would still play today. Jane starts going on about law and order shiz about theft and libel and witnesses and jail time. Jane gets all crazy unreasonable shouting and shoving Kirk to provoke him.

Dr. Palmer and Mr. Pan (who is there as a teacher-chaperone) notice the commotion and run/waddle toward the bow, where the three of them are now nose-to-nose shouting. Kirk uses the word “damn”, causing Dr. P. to go ballistic. NO SWEARING! Pan puts Palmer in a wrestling hold and tells him he needs to allow the kids to “work out their hatred”. Palmer shouts: “I’ll have you put below!” Palmer of the Caribbean. This is entertaining as hell. In the bow, Patty punches Jane and Jane falls overboard.

Jane collects her equipment, attaches the oxygen and facemask, and sinks 50 feet. She sees lots of splashing where she went overboard. Everyone is looking for her! She stays underwater until she is 1 mile (1.609 km) away. After surfacing, Jane walks to an alley where she’d left her junker the night before and starts driving up the mountain. Unfortunately, Jane runs out of gas 2 miles (3.218 km) from her destination and has to walk. The one thing she forgot in her master plan? Shoes! The rest of her journey is traveled barefoot on burning hot pavement and the thistly dirt shoulder.

The Less family cabin comes into view. It’s built on a cliff, with a beautiful view. Jane lets herself inside, and lies down to rest her aching muscles. Which, oddly, is underlined in my copy. Just the word “aching”. Maybe the original owner thought that Jane’s pain needed some extra emphasis. She falls asleep immediately.

Jane wakes to darkness. She turns on the TV to see if her own watery death made the news. The news anchor opens the broadcast with a report on the deaths of local high school students Jane Retton and Kirk Donner. Kirk? What? Police believe he over-fatigued himself diving after Jane, cramped, and drowned. Jane feels so guilty that she had blamed Kirk for her humiliation, that she tries to call Alice to come get her. But the phone is dead. And then the lights go out!

At this point, we check in once more with Alice and Lt. Fisher. Sharon told Alice about Jane’s plan once they were back on shore. Prior to that, Alice had used her scuba diving skills to try to find Jane. She didn’t go too deep because she didn’t want to find Jane’s dead body under there. Alice tells Fisher that Sharon was furious with Jane about Kirk’s death. Fisher wonders who, if only Sharon and Alice knew Jane was still alive, would have burned Jane to death in the woods? And where the hell is Sharon?

We join our story in progress:
Jane opens the front door to get to the electrical box in the garage, and a gunshot blows out the window next to her. She crawls through broken glass and runs up the stairs. The cabin is built on a cliff and has no back exit, only a small balcony over the cliff. Sharon’s parents are paranoid gun nuts, so Jane checks their bedroom, finding a handgun under the pillow. She defends the front door with the gun until she hears footsteps. Using a fireplace poker, she knocks out a person who opened the front door. It’s Sharon! Shit! A moment later, a Molotov cocktail flies through the window, sending the whole living room up in flames. Jane drags Sharon’s unconscious body up the stairs, as the flames get higher and higher.

Jane wants to try to shove Sharon out the window, away from the flames, but the bathroom window is stuck shut. She turns on the shower to soak Sharon and herself, and turns on the oxygen tank. Sharon is toast. She won’t wake up and can’t breathe through the oxygen mask. Jane comes up with a new plan, as she realizes there’s no hope for Sharon.

Back in the interrogation room, Fisher hits the wall with Alice. There’s nothing else she knows. Fisher excuses himself, and finds Patty Brane in the next room. She’s been charged with involuntary manslaughter, but Fisher will drop the charge if she answers a few questions. He tells her Jane was burned in the mountains and she doesn’t believe him. Fisher asks Patty who would kill Jane. Patty suggests Dr. Palmer. He’s a fatass, he hates sex and the body human, he could have killed Jane so Alice wouldn’t be contaminated by her non-virgin (whore) friend.

Dr. Palmer takes Alice home. Fisher goes to the burned down cabin. He spots a bike in the trees and recalls Alice saying that Sharon rode a bike around. He notices car tire tracks coasting down the mountain, and finds some burnt, peeled, human skin on the ground. Fisher realizes that, as an employee of Dr. Palmer, Jane would have had the means to switch her own dental records with Sharon’s!!!

Meanwhile, Jane has crammed herself into Alice’s bedroom closet. She had stopped by Dr. P.’s office earlier to switch the x-rays, and steal bandages, cocaine solution, and chloroform. Cocaine solution is used to numb the gums before a needle. Jane is using it to numb her feet, which are fucked beyond belief. She basically burned them off escaping from the house, in addition to hurting them on the way to the cabin. She’d been forced to leave Sharon there to burn, but had saved herself using the scuba gear. She soaked the wet suit inside and out, hooked up the oxygen and facemask, and had about 6 seconds to run through the smoke and flames. She used some kind of shoe substitute, but it didn’t work very well.

Jane stays alert until she hears the Palmers arrive home. She overhears Dr. P. going on about Alice having to pray tomorrow for her friends. Alice comes in and gets ready for bed. When she opens the closet, Jane grabs her and chloroforms her.

At a safe distance, in the Palmers’ guesthouse, Jane plans to take care of business. She sucks up the pain from her feet, and drags Alice to the backyard. Alice comes around and is confused because she'd ordered her Jane extra crispy. Jane has everything figured out. Alice had made a mistake when she set fire to the cabin. She underestimated Jane’s ingenuity with the scuba gear. Jane demands that Alice tell her how Kirk really died. Alice goes off topic until Jane says: “I know what he did to you”, which causes Alice to freak out. Jane is just saying random shit to piss Alice off. She goes for the kill: Kirk ruined Alice. Alice is screaming, crying, spazzing. Kirk had something he needed to get rid of and he gave it to her. Alice says she gave Kirk a lungful of laughing gas from a spare tank she was carrying during the search. It knocked him out and he drowned.

Alice wants to die. She’s ruined. Everyone knows. And Jane is screwed too. Even though Jane still isn’t sure what the hell Alice is talking about. Alice turns on the gas and starts talking crazy about lighting candles. Alice points at a cold sore on her lip. Kirk needed to get rid of it, so he gave it to her. Only bad boys can do that. Jane is half out of it from the gas, but still giggles at what a friggin’ numb nuts Alice is. She’s like: “It’s a COLD SORE!” Alice argues that it’s a HERPES sore. Oh, excuse me, then. You got the herp; your life is worthless. Before Alice can get a match lit, the guesthouse door busts open. Lt. Fisher drags the two girls out of the gas leak area. Dr. Palmer comes out in his Snoopy pajamas and starts yelling at Fisher, who elbows him into the pool.

More cops arrive and Jane is loaded into a car to go see a doctor. And that's it.

Happy Canada Day, everyone!

Look for WEEKEND to be posted probably this weekend. Or earlier if I'm awesome or start taking speed.


Anonymous said...

Ever since there was that post on The Dairi Burger about Christopher Pike books, I've been wanting to reread them. Unfortunately my old library got rid of all the books and I can't afford (nor do I want to) buy all of them myself. So, this blog is perfect because I can read about the books without actually having to read them again! This was one of the ones I really wanted to reread! Thanks ;)

Devika said...

I totally had the one with the top cover, which makes sense, because I read it when i was like 10, which would be 1993, and I now feel ridiculously old. The 3rd cover definitely looks like a cross between D&D and a Harlequin novel.

Anonymous said...

That last cover design is the same as the LJ Smith Night World books and it was fug then, and it's fug now.

livefastbleedslow said...

I remember loving this book, but I didn't remember any of this. sounds like an abrupt ending

Emily said...

You left out the part at the end when the cop, who is young, hot, and smart, and the one who figured the entire thing out, after rescuing Jane and putting her in the car to take her to a doctor, tells her he's a friend, and he's been up all night thinking about her. I always thought (I often made up my own after-endings to Pike's books when they are too dark, or ambiguous, but I feel he subtly lets you know what will happen) that Jane ends up with the cop eventually.

Cheese said...

The original covers are the best! My friends and I read these books when we were in middle school; now we are recollecting them and I just re-read See You Later and I'm in the middle of Fall Into Darkness. He is such a good writer; the original of this cover was the one I remembered the most vividly!

kristenevol said...

Cheese, I agree about the covers. I have seen some of the newer editions and there’s just no comparison.

Anonymous said...

I felt so bad for Kirk in this book. I mean, he wasn't a great boyfriend or anything, and he was a little dim, but he didn't deserve that shit, since Jane was clearly an emotional nut who was ready to bang someone else before Kirk's body was even cold (after he died trying to "rescue" her, no less, in a situation she had set up).

Unknown said...