Paulette Langstrom has a bag full of problems. She’s becoming an old maid at the ripe old age of 23 (at least in the eyes of her brother), and her grandma considers her ‘awkward’, even if she doesn’t hold it against her. Her relation to Dean Cummings is summarised as “what had she been thinking?”. And her view of the world is thoroughly coloured by pulp fiction.
She has, however, a more immediate problem: walking home more than five miles in pumps, because her brother
neglected to pick her up.
Astrid Bing is a writer, at least sort of, having until recently made her living writing teasers for pulp novels. When she gives Pauline a ride, the girl is both scared of and fascinated by Astrid. And she goes past Redemption, Pauline’s home town, without stopping.
The sophisticated (at least in Paulette’s eyes) woman-of-the-world has been duped by her girlfriend, who she thought was her soulmate, and she is headed for Los Angeles, to put an entire continent between her and her former lover. To Astrid’s surprise, Pauline points out that she is actually headed *eastwards* …
If this were a film, it could be termed a “road movie”. As the two characters get to know each other better, the author plays with changing labels, like “a not quite socialist lesbian who got tipsy on occasion”, or “a lovely, but thoroughly confused creature”. The story has also been published as “Faster, Pussycat! Kill, Kill, Kill!”, a title that is also (self-) referred to within the story — I cannot make up my mind which I like better.
Actually, this story is pretty hard to summarize because of quite a few unusual facets, or views, that make this story up. Just read it, if you like a distanced, ironic approach. It made it into my personal hall of fame, even if there are stories I re-read more often — say, an eight out of ten.