They told Poppy Zigfield, lead singer for the British, all-girl band, Poppy and the Pop Tarts, that she was scheduled to perform at Disneyland, alongside Taylor Swift.
She was understandably pissed when the private helicopter her mum had commandeered dropped her down at Sugarbush rehab, a veritable snow cone in the middle of an unimpressive pile of rocks called Vermont.
No Taylor Swift.
And not a Mickey Mouse in sight either, just a monstrous brown-eyed creature, pawing the snow in search of an edible patch of grass. The moose stared sad-eyed, icy smoke curling from his nostrils, as Poppy leapt from the whirling helicopter that had shanghaied her from New York’s Madison Square Garden, her last American gig.
The helicopter pilot tossed a tiny pink leather overnight bag out onto the snow at Poppy’s feet and yelled “Good luck, Mate,” as she swirled away, back up into the clouds.
Poppy swallowed hard when she saw the moose ambling toward her. She’d never faced such a large, hairy, unruly creature, unless one counted her ex-girlfriend, Tubby McGuire, after three days on Ecstasy.
Fuck that moose. She had to get inside quickly or she was headed for a bad case of chapped quim.
Ambling to one side, clutching her leather micro mini in an effort to warm her stick-thin thighs, and grabbing her bag, Poppy slid across the ice field toward the front door of the farmhouse.
Poppy and the Pop Tarts were a monstrous girl band. The global press had tagged them the hottest act ever to tread the boards in London. Their global record sales made the Spice Girls and old broads like Lady Gaga look like warm-up stunts at Brighten Beach.
But one split second of bad judgment had done poor Poppy in.
One wanking mistake.
Poppy had gotten in a fight with her fuck-buddy B-Bo, Britain’s star girl soccer player, and accidentally torched the super athlete’s East Hampton mansion.
Like B-Bo would miss a ten million dollar beach shack. B-Bo made more than that standing around in a g-string looking good for European underwear ads.
But apparently arson was a big deal to the Americans, who seemed to have no empathy when it came to drug-induced crimes of passion that destroyed prime USA real estate. The Hampton’s District Attorney’s Office charged Poppy with felony arson.
Her mum had booked her at Sugarbush hoping to force her to abandon recreational drug use before she did a total Wineheart and popped off the planet for good.
Dear old wanky Mum, in Poppy’s estimation, was overreacting. Menopause – mental pause – or something like that, as near as Poppy could tell.
She, Poppy Zigfield, lead Love Tart, did not have a problem with drugs. The only problem she had was with Dame Diane, her dear old Victorian mum.
A multi-millionaire by her twenty-first birthday, Poppy was managing just fine, thank you. Sure, she weighed less than her pet pug, King James, but thin was in. Her dark eyes popped from her head like a love-starved puppy. Her big red lips, plump with collagen, played kissy-face with the world.
On a good day her generous use of mascara made her look like a refuge from the Twilight Trilogy. Poppy Zigfield thought of her blood-starved look as her trademark, like Dolly Parton’s huge breasts and hay pile of hair.
Lily Rockworthy, owner of Sugarbush, eyed Poppy as she shivered toward the registration desk. Lily had been running Sugarbush for so long she could diagnosis a girl’s favorite addiction with one glance. She held out a zip bag with Poppy’s name stenciled across the front. “Laxatives,” she demanded as she peered over the bridge of her turquoise half-glasses.
“What’s that, love?” Poppy twisted her long black hair around her pinkie finger as she spoke. On stage she belted out her songs. In real life she spoke more softly, like the prep school princess her mother had hoped she’d become.
“Everything you’re holding goes into the bag. Can’t bring stash with you. If you still want that stuff at the end of your thirty days we’ll give it back.”
Poppy puffed her cheeks. “Piss off, queenie. I don’t belong here. I’m supposed to be performing with Swift at Disneyland. Call me a car service, a freakin’ dog sled, whatever.”
“No taxis up here. Next ride out not ‘til next week.”
Poppy rolled her eyes as she took in the shabby lobby. “What is this place, love? Hell on a budget?”
“Your mom arranged a winter vacation for you.”
“Well it smells like old lady farts to me.” Poppy fished through her micro-mesh bag and yanked out a finger-length cigarette flecked in gold dust which she stuffed into a carved ivory holder.
Lily reached over and plucked the cigarette from her lips.
“No smoking in the house, love. That’ll be in the rule book come morning. Might as well warm up.”
Pouting, Poppy plucked an ebony Mont Blanc pen from her purse and attacked the register with her trademark “P.” She slapped down the signature as large as she could in an act of defiance.
Sod it. She’d stay seven days. Get her mum off her back. What difference could a bloody week make anyway?
She emptied her bag onto the registration desk, allowing Lily to brown bag several bubble packs of laxatives, a vaporizer, an Altoid tin of Ecstasy and a rainbow assortment of pills even she didn’t recognize.
Must have been a party pack B-Bo slipped on her when the cops came.
Lily handed Poppy a nicely folded set of striped pink flannel pajamas. “You’ll be toasty in these.”
“You joking doll? Who made these? The Queen Mum? I can’t wear something freak-girl like these. What if my fans see me? Do you know who I am? Do you?”
Poppy’s eyes brightened.
“You’re a dyke. A fucked up English one from the sound of you.”